When PJ Tucker opted to end his run with the Miami Heat and sign a three-year, $33 million deal in Philly, it was a huge loss for the South Beach crew. Sure, Tucker is no spring chicken at 37 years old, and he has never averaged double-digit points during his decade-plus in the NBA, but the cagey vet was nonetheless a key cog in Miami.
“He has a way of doing things that just inspires your whole team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Tucker during his squad’s first-round series against the Sixers, via Fan Nation.
“All year he has been our heart and soul,” added Tyler Herro. “We follow him because he is one of our leaders.”
Now, Heat Nation is left to wonder what the plan is for filling Tucker’s vacated spot in Miami’s frontcourt. And while the free-agent frenzy has died down after a wild couple of weeks, one league exec has identified a possible replacement big man.
Montrezl Harrell a Possibility?
Splitting his time between the Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets, Montrezl Harrell was once again an offensive sparkplug last season. Over 71 combined appearances, he averaged 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 64.5% from the floor.
Despite all he did on the hardwood in 2021-22, though, the 28-year-old remains in the market for new address as an unrestricted free agent.
To that end, an Eastern Conference exec relayed to Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the Heat could make a play for his services.
“Miami would be one team to look out for. Especially if they make a big move and they have a lot of roster holes that need to be filled on the cheap late in the summer,” the exec said. “They need another big guy either way. He could be sitting there. It depends on if the case goes away or what.”
Harrell may not bring the same level of defense that Tucker did, but his offensive skillset and motor may still be nice attributes to have next to Bam Adebayo. Alas, the aforementioned case has raised questions about his future.
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As reported by Roderick Boone of The Charlotte Observer, Harrell is facing felony drug charges in the wake of a traffic stop in Madison County, Kentucky on May 12. Authorities found three pounds of marijuana in the one-time Sixth Man of the Year honoree’s vehicle, according to a police report obtained by the Observer.
“The feeling now is that he’s toxic until his case gets settled. He’s made the case that he did not really do anything wrong, that he had a minor infraction and that might very well be true,” the exec said. “The weed thing, no one really cares about that, the league does not come down on that as long as it is just a possession thing. His case got pushed back, though, so we’ll have to wait and see.”
While his case is pending, there’s no doubt about Harrell’s abilities on the court. As such, the exec beleives someone — perhaps the Heat — may eventually be able to sign him at a discounted rate.
“With everything that has gone on, someone is going to wind up with him for the minimum when things get settled and that is a good deal, really. But no one is going to go in for him while all of that is hanging out there.”