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Rockets guarantee P.J. Tucker’s contract for final season

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It’s official: Tucker will be back next season.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Houston Rockets Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Now that P.J. Tucker is officially the starting center for the Houston Rockets, he’s probably more important to the team than ever before. And the team has recognized that, as they plan to fully guarantee the final year of Tucker’s contract in 2020-2021, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Tucker is making $8.3 million this season, and next year is officially on the books at $7.9 million. He’ll be 35 year old in May, so it’s hard to predict what will happen from there, as the Tuckwagon is starting to get up there in age, and he’s been playing huge minutes this year. He’s at a career-high 34.9 per game, which is currently ahead of last year’s former career-high of 34.2. How his body holds up after one more year is anyone’s guess.

But Tucker’s value to Houston cannot be understated. He’s a versatile and stout defender who was the team’s best piece on that end until Robert Covington arrived, and he possesses a solid three-point shot (37.3 percent as a Rocket) on offense to take advantage of James Harden and Russell Westbrook kick outs.

Tucker is currently averaging 7.4 points per game, a career-high 7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.2 steals per game on 43.8 percent shooting from the field (his best since 2015) and 36.9 percent from deep.

Happy to have you back, Tuck!