NBA rumors: Sixers ‘interested’ in Eric Gordon, ‘in the mix’ for PJ Tucker

Over 13 seasons in Houston, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey built a reputation as an aggressive, dealmaking executive.

It sounds like his replacement as Rockets general manager is also glad to be seen that way.

“We’re aggressive people and we’re going to be aggressive,” Rafael Stone told reporters Tuesday in Houston. “It doesn’t mean we’ll get anything done, it doesn’t mean it’ll happen. We’re only going to do deals that we internally decide are really good ones. But we’re going to call everybody 5,000 times and we’re going to see if there are different options that can be found and different ways to put the puzzle together.”

It’s safe to assume the Sixers will be making and taking calls, too. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Tuesday that the team is “interested” in veteran Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon.

“Keep an eye on the Houston Rockets,” Windhorst said. “They’ve already done one deal this offseason. Look for a bit of an Eric Gordon sweepstakes in play. A couple of teams that I’ve heard interested are the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns. You have Chris Paul looking for a meeting with his former teammate there. Philadelphia also (is) in the mix for PJ Tucker, by the way — just opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat.”

For the time being, the Rockets have the third, 17th and 26th picks in Thursday night’s NBA draft. The Sixers hold No. 23.

The 33-year-old Gordon is set to make approximately $19.6 million next season and has a non-guaranteed salary of $20.9 million for 2023-24. Gordon shot 41.2 percent from three-point range last year, his best mark since the 2014-15 season. His 123.5 points per 100 shot attempts were a career high and ranked in the 90th percentile among wings, for Cleaning the Glass. Gordon has suffered groin injuries the past two seasons and played only 120 games since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Like Gordon, Tucker spent time with Morey and James Harden in Houston. The Sixers are obviously not the only team that appreciates his game. Tucker’s choice to decline his $7.4 million player option was “100% expected,” The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds reported.

Before the 2020 offseason, Embiid told the Sixers’ front office the team needed more shooting. The Sixers added Seth Curry and Danny Green in draft-night trades. Whether or not a Sixers pursuit of Tucker is ultimately viable, it’s notable that Embiid named the 37-year-old after the team was eliminated by the Heat in describing his desire to have more tough, physical players on the roster.

“For sure,” Embiid said. “We had a few tough guys since I’ve been here that I can recall, whether it’s Mike Scott … he didn’t play a lot of minutes. But when you have size and toughness, that goes a long way. You look at someone like PJ Tucker — great player, but it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about (the other things) he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball. You look at (him) defensively, he plays with so much energy. He believes that he can get from Point A to Point B, and he believes that no one can beat him.

“And he’s tough. He’s just physical and he’s tough. They have a few of those guys, whether it’s Bam (Adebayo) and all those guys. And since I’ve been here, I would be lying if I said that we’ve had those type of guys. Nothing against what we have, it’s just the truth. We never have PJ Tucker; that’s really what I’m trying to say. So I think physicality, especially once you get to the playoffs or the later rounds, you need that. You need those guys that are really tough.”

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