24 July 2012
P.J. Tucker's dream of returning to the NBA has come true. The former Texas Longhorn and the Suns agreed to a two-year contract with partial guarantees on the first year of the deal. If he sticks around with Phoenix all year long, Tucker can earn a second-year player minimum of $762,195.
Tucker played on the Suns summer-league team where he averaged 5.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game in five contests in Vegas. Tucker became a favorite of Suns summer coach Dan Majerle as "Thunder Dan" said he loved P.J. for his hard play and doing everything you ask of him.
In his time at Texas, the small forward had a very solid career. He was placed on the Big 12's All Freshmen team and was a All-Big 12 honorable mention in his first year under Rick Barnes. During his final year as a Longhorn, Tucker was one of the better players in the country. He was the Big 12 Player of the Year and was the AP's Second Team All-American.
With his collegiate accolades, Tucker was selected 35th overall in the second round by the Toronto Raptors during the 2006 draft. He didn't receive a lot of playing time with the Raptors appearing in only 17 games where he averaged 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds. Tucker saw the majority of his time in the D-League with the Colorado 14ers and was eventually waived by Toronto.
Since being waived, Tucker has played on a number of different teams overseas including Italy, Puerto Rico and Greece. He has also been a MVP in Israel, a scoring champ in Ukraine and was the MVP of this year's German League finals.
It remains to be seen what Tucker's role will be with the Suns. Phoenix still has plenty of money they can spend and they have been rumored to be talking to Carlos Delfino and possibly even Terrence Williams to add depth at small forward position behind starter and newcomer Michael Beasley.
If the current roster remains unchanged, Tucker would more than likely compete with Hakim Warrick, who can play both forward positions, in training camp for playing time to back up Beasley. Not known for his scoring, Tucker will provide the Suns at the very least with a good locker room presence as well as much needed defense coming off the bench.
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