Miami Heat forward PJ Tucker leads the NBA in three-point shooting at 45.9% through 41 games. While some players might be begging to showcase their skills during All-Star Weekend, Tucker doesn’t even want an invitation to the party.
Tucker is dead set against going to Cleveland, preferring to use the week off to vacation “somewhere sunny and hot and sand in between my toes.” The 36-year-old signed a two-year deal worth $15 million last August in the hope of winning a championship in South Beach. He isn’t about to risk injury or give up valuable rest days. Not with the second half of the season chock full of important games.
“Does not sound very interesting to me,” Tucker said of going to Cleveland, via Ira Winderman. “You could tell me literally I was going to be in the All-Star Game and I would probably even skip it.”
The conversation started at a recent Heat shootaround when a quote from Eric Gordon — Tucker’s former teammate in Houston — was read aloud to him: “He should be there,” Gordon said. But Tucker doesn’t want a free ticket to Cleveland, which is where All-Star Weekend is being held this year. The Three-Point Challenge is scheduled for February 19 around 9 p.m. Gordon is second to Tucker in three-point shooting at 45% and he can have the crown.
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Chris Silva’s Status Changed to ‘Ineligible’
Heat forward Chris Silva has been ruled “ineligible” for Wednesday night’s game against the New York Knicks following Tyler Herro’s clearance from health and safety protocols. Silva signed another 10-day hardship contract on January 21 and counts as a COVID-19 replacement. He cannot be activated again until another Miami player enters health and safety protocols.
Silva is on his third 10-day hardship contract after inking one on December 30 and another on January 10. He has appeared in seven games for the Heat, averaging 3.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 61.5% from the field and 80% from the foul line. The Heat and Knicks square off on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in Miami.
Erik Spoelstra Appreciates Tucker’s Presence
Head coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t been afraid to voice his appreciation for his new veteran leaders, namely PJ Tucker and Kyle Lowry. The Heat has relied on them to steady the ship amid plenty of maelstroms during the 2021-22 campaign. From injuries to COVID-19, it has been amazing to watch.
Tucker and Lowry — with help from Dewayne Dedmon — have taken the young guys under their wings and focused them on the prize. Now the Heat is holding down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference at 30-17.
“They’re stabilizing forces and they’re allowing our young core just to come in and not feel any kind of pressure,” Spoelstra said on December 18. “They can just come in and focus on playing winning basketball and allowing them to be who they are, and all those pivotal moments during the game, there was at least one play by Kyle or PJ that stabilized [the offense]. You don’t take that for granted.”