The Raptors wanted P.J. Tucker back next season and they made the 32-year-old a high-ball offer of $33 million over three years, but he opted to take less money and join former Clippers superstar Chris Paul in Houston with the Rockets. As the Raptors dither with free agent Kyle Lowry, president Masai Ujiri couldn’t get done what Tucker really wanted fast enough.
Chris Paul played big role getting friend PJ Tucker to HOU. Raps offered 3 yrs/$33M, Rockets deal is 4/$32M, partial guarantee in last year
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 2, 2017
The Raptors didn’t give up much to get Tucker at the trade deadline in February, but this was a guy Ujiri really wanted back. A veteran with a physical presence that isn’t always easy to find. While Tucker doesn’t do much for a team on the stats sheet, he does make an impact on the court.
It really looks like Tucker’s decision was all about going with the sure thing. At the locker clean out media availability, Tucker made it pretty clear he wasn’t coming back unless the team re-signed Kyle Lowry.
“I think fit is everything,” Tucker said about his impending free agency. “I want to go to a team I can help push to the next level.”
“I look to be a piece going towards something. It’s not just the money. It’s a bunch of things that goes into it and seeing where I fit.
“You got to let (free agency) play out.”
Faced with making a decision to join a very good Rockets team that has Paul committed to playing there next season versus agreeing to return to a Raptors team that still hasn’t been able to come to terms with Lowry or Serge Ibaka, it wasn’t all that hard a decision to make when the dollars are this close.