Jimmy Butler Reveals True Feelings About Ex-Heat Starter PJ Tucker

Jimmy Butler PJ Tucker

Getty Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker of the Miami Heat embrace following a playoff win over the Boston Celtics.

The Miami Heat finally broke out of their funk on Monday night, outlasting a Philadelphia 76ers team with legitimate title aspirations. It was a particularly wild affair, too, as James Harden’s attempt at a game-winner with time expiring was long by a hair. Consequently, the Heat escaped with a 101-99 victory.

For the South Beach faithful, the win was perhaps doubly sweet because it came at the expense of PJ Tucker, the former Heat starter and glue guy who bolted for Philly last summer. However, the same could probably be said for Heat star Jimmy Butler — whose gravity-defying layup put his team on top down the stretch — as well.

In the same vein as his NSFW comment about Tucker and Sixers star Joel Embiid in July, Butler ended his postgame media availability with the following message for his former teammate via Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin: “I hate you, PJ.”

Of course, much of Butler’s bravado on the Tucker front is just that — bravado. Between jabs, Butler and some of Tucker’s other former teammates were effusive in praising the wily vet.

Jimmy Butler & Co. Share Their Feelings on Ex-Heat PF PJ Tucker

Final 3:09 WILD ENDING Heat vs 76ers | February 27, 2023Never miss a moment with the latest news, trending stories and highlights to bring you closer to your favorite players and teams. Download now: app.link.nba.com/APP22 The Miami Heat defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-99. Jimmy Butler recorded 23 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists for the Heat, while Bam Adebayo added 13 points, 7 rebounds and…2023-02-28T02:59:52Z

Amid the win, Butler made it more than clear that he respects all the little things Tucker does on the hardwood. More than that, though, he’s fully aware of how much there master role player meant to Miami.

“He guards incredibly well until he gotta matchup against me,” Butler opined. “But no, I really respect PJ because he always does what you ask him to do. We left him in the corner twice and he knocked them down both times. He’s playing in the passing lane, he’s diving on the floor, he’s a hell of a leader, he’s honest and you can count on him night in and night out to show up and do what you ask him to do.

“I miss him. We miss them here, but they got a good one.”

Tyler Herro was similarly sentimental about Tucker and how well things went with him in the fold last season.

“You see our record now without him, right? We were first in the East with him and now we’re struggling to find our identity without him, but Tuck’s somebody who brings everything else that doesn’t show up in the box score. Anything that he brings to the box score is just extra at that point,” Herro said.

“He’s a great teammate, he’s a leader, he knows where to be at the right spots. He’s a veteran, he’s experienced, and he brings a lot to a championship team. Things that don’t show up in the box score, but he brings everything else.”

In 58 games (all starts) with Philly this season, Tucker is averaging 3.6 points and 4.1 rebounds with shooting splits of 44-43-86.

Ex-Heat Star Waived by Chicago Bulls

Pretty much since the day that Goran Dragic was shipped out of Miami in the Kyle Lowry trade, fans have been dreaming up ways to get the former All-Star back with the team. And now, as fate would have it, the 36-year-old suddenly finds himself without a place to ply his trade.

Per an announcement from the club on Tuesday, the veteran combo guard has been released by the Chicago Bulls. Dragic had appeared in 51 games for the Windy City crew this season, averaging 6.4 points and 2.7 assists per outing with 43-35-66 shooting splits.

He previously spent parts of seven seasons with the Heat, from 2015 to 2021.

Although Miami technically has room under the tax to sign Dragic at the prorated minimum, the team currently doesn’t have any open roster spots.

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