The Miami Heat were not messing around when free agency negotiations opened up on August 2. After landing Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors and resigning sharpshooter Duncan Robinson in a record-breaking deal, the Heat successfully stole P.J. Tucker from the Milwaukee Bucks.
After it was reported that the Los Angeles Lakers were signing veteran power forward Trevor Ariza to a one-year deal on Monday, it wasn’t clear who would replace him, or if Miami already had someone in mind.
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The Athletic’s Shams Charania was first to break the news on August 2. Charania tweeted, “Free agent PJ Tucker has agreed to a deal with the Heat, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. PJ Tucker is signing a two-year, $15 million deal with Miami, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.”
Even after landing Lowry, retaining Robinson, and nabbing Tucker, the Heat have somehow stayed below the $136 million luxury tax, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
“If my math is correct, Miami can execute all their free agent signings and still stay below the $136.6M luxury tax,” Marks tweeted. “The rest of the roster would be filled with 7 players on veteran minimum contracts.”
Miami Is Making a Huge Impact Via Sign-and-Trades This Offseason
Without any picks in this year’s NBA draft, the Heat could only pull off a meaningful restructure by signing a player in free agency, or by working out a sign-and-trade deal, the latter of which NBA insiders told Bleacher Report was expected to be an extremely popular route for team’s facing “limited financial wiggle room” this summer.
While Miami had sizable cap space to play with this summer, the Milwaukee Bucks are “depleted of most meaningful draft capital after splurging for Jrue Holiday last summer,” Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale wrote. “And they flexed smart cap creativity in their deadline to acquire P.J. Tucker.”
Like with Lowry, Miami has long been interested in Tucker. The Heat attempted to acquire the veteran power forward while negotiating the trade that brought Victor Oladipo to Miami from the Houston Rockets in March.
Tucker Should Fit Right in With Heat Culture
Despite just turning 36 years old, Tucker’s still a formidable force on the court, and the way he describes his work ethic sounds like he’ll fit right in with Heat culture.
After shutting down Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, one of the NBA’s all-time best scorers during the Eastern Conference Finals, Tucker spoke of his relentless fight to win and not letting drama get in the way of his game.
“It’s the playoffs, man,” Tucker said during that series, ESPN reported. “I don’t know what people think. We dream about this our whole lives. You dream about being in the playoffs and guarding the best player in the world. Like, I’ll die out there.”
“I’m living my dream. I’m not backing down from nothing. I’m fighting for every inch. I don’t understand all this little stuff. Me and Kevin fight every year. I’ve guarded him every year in the playoffs.”