NBA free-agent watch: P.J. Tucker

NBA free-agent watch: P.J. Tucker
June 10, 2014, 11:30 am
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(Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)

For the second year in the row, the Wizards had a top 10 defense which is a major emphasis for coach Randy Wittman. It's an identity that he won't abandon anytime soon, and whoever he brings in during free agency will have to at least show a commitment in that area. 

The catch is, however, finding players who can keep the momentum going there without the Wizards losing their offensive efficiency. That's going to be easier said than done should the Wizards not re-sign Trevor Ariza. 

Free agent: SG/PF P.J. Tucker, Phoenix Suns. Restricted.  

2013-14 salary: $884,000.

Vitals: 6-5, 224 pounds. 29 years old. 

Career averages: 7.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 45% FG, 36.8% 3FG. Last season: 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 43.1% FG, 38.7% 3FG. 

The fit: Tucker could be perfect. He was drafted in 2006 by the Toronto Raptors, released and developed overseas until the last two seasons in Phoenix. Tucker is a versatile player with an improving offensive game, and an exceptional defender who takes on the toughest assignment on the perimeter. A full-time starter for the first time last season, his three-point efficiency when up seven points from 31%. 

Chances of becoming a Wizard: Less than average. It would be much better if he were unrestricted. The Suns can match any offers that Tucker receives, which means Tucker will come with a larger price-tag to pry him away. If the Wizards were to lose Ariza in free agency, however, that could change. They'd be smart to put on a full-court press to lure Tucker who would come cheaper but expects a heft raise. The ceiling for him appears to be much higher than what he has shown up to this point.