With December 15th fast approaching and the NBA allowing players who were signed this offseason to become trade eligible from that point onwards, the Phoenix Suns are one of several teams that should be on high alert right now.
Although they've had a fine season up to this point, a combination of injuries and bad luck at the wrong time has meant that the team have failed to hit top gear. Now is not a time to panic though, as Bradley Beal is about to get back onto the court alongside Devin Booker, with Kevin Durant likely not far behind.
The Suns certainly have a group of role players beyond their superstars who have pulled their weight this season and will play their part once the postseason begins. Beyond that though, there are still some spots to be taken on the back end of this roster, with players such as Chimezie Metu and Bol Bol failing to capitalize on the chance to pick up more minutes so far.
Which is why the organization should be paying close attention to P.J. Tucker of the L.A. Clippers, and the apparent "come and get me" plea that he recently issued.
At 38-years-old, Tucker is not close to the player he was in his prime. Offensively he is just downright bad at this point, although he is still knocking down 3-pointers at a semi-respectable rate. He began the season with the Philadelphia 76ers by knocking down 40 percent of his shots from deep, but that came on an admittedly tiny sample size of three games.
With the Clippers though it just hasn't happened for Tucker since being traded their alongside James Harden. With the Clippers beginning to find some form - and less ideally for Tucker a rotation that is making that happen - he spoke with Tomer Azarly of Clutch Points to voice his frustrations, saying;
"I feel like I still got a lot to contribute to a team to be able to win, whether that's here or somewhere else. I know myself, my worth. I know what I bring. I know what I've brought. I know what I can continue to bring. And with that, I want to be able to go to a good team that I can be able to help that"- P.J. Tucker
Tucker spent five seasons with the Suns in the past, and in theory he could be the kind of end of bench player that they could turn to for spot minutes in a playoff game. Tucker has long been able to guard players bigger than him, and would have a greater impact on that end than the barely used Metu or Bol.
Tucker would also represent insurance if one of Eric Gordon or Keita Bates-Diop was to go down with any sort of injury. Tucker isn't as good as either of those guys anymore - although he wouldn't tell you that himself - but that doesn't mean if called upon he couldn't annoy an elite scoring opponent for four minutes before heading back to the bench again.
In theory this sounds great for the Suns, the chance to add another veteran whose role would be clearly defined and who could help this roster. Unfortunately for them however, Tucker is making $11 million this season, and has a player option for next year that is also worth $11 million. Hard to see a near 40-year-old turning down that kind of coin.
Any trade to get Tucker would have to include Grayson Allen to make it work financially - and that is where this conversation should end for the Suns. Allen has been fantastic for the team so far this season, one of their best and most consistent players. In terms of shooting, he is everything right now that Tucker was at his peak.
Talking about three-team deals to get a role player like Tucker seems crazy, but that is one way in which Tucker could land in The Valley. More likely though - and before the new CBA really takes hold next season - is if Tucker were to be bought out. In that scenario, a chance to play for one of the few contenders out there, and a place he is familiar with, would likely appeal to Tucker.
For now though he remains stuck in Los Angeles, as rookies like Kobe Brown fly past him and up the ladder towards more minutes with the Clippers. P.J. Tucker is not the first name the Suns should be watching once December 15th comes and goes, but his unique situation and the chance to steal him are worth monitoring.