Saturday, June 25, 2022

3 Eastern Conference Teams Interested in Signing Heat Forward: Report

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After Miami Heat forward PJ Tucker was officially out of his second year of contract, the 37-year-old immediately became one of the hottest targets in free agency.

Yahoo! Sports reporter Chris Haynes tweeted on Wednesday, June 22: “Tucker is expected to have interest from several competing teams who are poised to offer the full midlevel exemption once free agency begins, league sources @YahooSports say.”

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In the two days since Tucker turned down his $7.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season with the Heat, three Eastern Conference teams are reportedly attempting to snap up the Miami defensive stud.

After the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported Tuesday night that “according to multiple sources, the Sixers intend to offer him a three-year, $30 million deal,” two other teams have emerged as applicants.

New York Daily News reporter Kristian Winfield revealed Wednesday that the Brooklyn Nets have “tangible interest” in Tucker. “He’s a great friend – ‘brothers’ in his words – with Nets star Kevin Durant, and the addition of a player of Tucker’s ilk would bring much-needed toughness and frontcourt distance to a Nets team that lacks both. “

However, the Nets can’t pay Tucker as much as the Sixers “and would probably have to take a pay cut to join the Nets,” Winfield noted. “Brooklyn only has one mid-level taxpayer exemption, which maxes out on a three-year deal worth about $20 million. If Tucker returns to The Heat, he could ask for an increase on his previous salary, which was a two-year contract worth $14.4 million.”

Joining the Nets rather than staying in Miami would be a decision about which team he thinks has a better chance of winning the NBA championship, Winfield surmised. “Playing with his good friend Durant, however, would be the draw in Brooklyn, as would joining a team that’s knocking on the door of an NBA championship as perennial contenders, and surrounding Durant with the level of star power needed each year to win a title.” battle.”

The third team Winfield says is planning a run on Tucker is the Atlanta Hawks. “The Nets aren’t the only contenders interested in Tucker’s services,” added Winfield. “Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks are also likely to make a run for Tucker’s services, another source told The News.”

While Tucker’s age is obviously a big issue as he turns 38 before the start of the playoffs next season, he has been one of the most reliable players for the Heat this season. The 6-foot-5 defensive anchor, who notoriously refuses to take veteran days off, appeared in 70 regular-season games (including 71 early).

During the regular season, Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 48.4% from the field and 41.5% from off the arc.

Few players instantly clicked with Heat Culture like Tucker, and both team president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra have made it clear they’d love for him to stay in Miami.

Riley called Tucker “a cornerstone” during his season-ending press conference on June 6, saying, “I’d love to have Tuck back with us next year. He’s part of our core… He’s special.”

There’s still a very good chance Tucker will stay in Miami, and the Heat should be able to offer him a salary of up to $8.5 million for the 2022 NBA season.

Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang suggested the Heat will struggle to offer the full MLE if they want to retain forward Cab Martin, who will become a restricted free agent this summer. chiang tweeted, tweeted, “Heat could also offer $10.3 million for mid-level non-taxpayers to re-sign PJ Tucker, but that would severely limit Miami upfront. It would also eliminate a key resource that could be used to bring Caleb Martin back.”

Chiang also noted that like the Heat, paying Tucker above the MLE will be difficult for any top team. He tweeted, “Most if not all of the competing teams are above the ceiling and have only the mid-level exception to offer PJ Tucker. And of course competitors want Tucker.”

Pompey even noted, “Right now, the Sixers don’t have the space available to sign him at $10 million a season. As a result, they would have to make room to fit his salary… Sources said the Sixers are seeking a three-team deal that could involve Matisse Thybulle and the No. 23.”

CONTINUE READING: NBC Sports Analyst offers trade offer for Heat to Land Jazz All-Star

There’s still a very good chance Tucker will stay in Miami, and the Heat should be able to offer him a salary of up to $8.5 million for the 2022 NBA season.

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