The P.J. Tucker-to-the-New York Knicks hype train lasted about five seconds.
According to the New York Post‘s Marc Berman, the Knicks do not have interest in the Phoenix Suns wing:
An NBA source said the Knicks aren’t planning to pursue Suns defensive forward P.J. Tucker despite his ties with Hornacek.
Tucker shut down Carmelo Anthony in last month’s meeting between the teams, and Hornacek regarded Tucker as one of his favorite players in Phoenix. Tucker said upon Hornacek’s return to Phoenix last month, “It was really tough watching an amazing coach” get fired.
“I wasn’t happy about that with the way it happened because I felt like it was more our team than him,’’ Tucker said.
It makes sense that the Knicks would be linked to Tucker. He played for Jeff Hornacek during the coach’s stint in Phoenix, and New York’s defense is crap. Tucker is a physical defender, though at times slightly underrated, and is at least serviceable from beyond the arc.
It should also be noted that the source of the original report is ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, who’s as reputable as they come. So there’s a chance the Knicks have least explored Tucker’s availability.
Still, it’s hard to find a workable deal. Tucker’s $5.3 expiring contract fits into the Knicks’ free-agency plans, but they don’t have expendable assets who help make the salary match. Brandon Jennings would work, but the Suns have no need for him, while the Knicks are thin at point guard as it is. Kyle O’Quinn works as well, but he’s been New York’s best big aside from Kristaps Porzingis, and Phoenix has no real use for him with Tyson Chandler, Marquese Chriss, Alex Len and Dragan Bender on the docket.
This is the dilemma the Knicks face when trying to make any trade. They have next to no assets. And the hot commodities they do have, such as Courtney Lee or Porzingis, cannot, under any circumstance be moved.