Nets Competing With Rival as Top Contenders To Land NBA Champion: Report

Kevin Durant, Basketball, NBA

Getty Kevin Durant and PJ Tucker get nose to nose during the Nets loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

With high-level scorers such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris, and Seth Curry, the Brooklyn Nets have more than enough offense to compete with the NBA’s best. But where the Nets suffer the most is on the defensive end of the ball. That was evident in their first-round elimination to the Boston Celtics, where they could not get consistent stops, which led to them getting swept out of the playoffs.

The defense should be a point of emphasis for Nets general manager Sean Marks and company during this offseason if they hope to be title contenders. Kristian Winfield of the “New York Daily News” says that PJ Tucker is on the Nets’ list of free agency targets.

“The Nets are one of a number of playoff and championship contenders with a tangible interest in veteran free agent forward P.J. Tucker, multiple sources told the Daily News. Tucker became an unrestricted free agent after declining his $7 million player option with the Miami Heat earlier this week,” Winfield writes per the “New York Daily News”.

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Sixers To Offer Tucker $30 Million in Free Agency

Tucker, one of the best “3 & D” players in the NBA, should command significant interest from several title contenders, as he has a skill set that can help a fringe team get over the hump. Tucker being traded from the Houston Rockets to the Milwaukee Bucks at the 2021 trade deadline contributed to Milwaukee winning the title and him winning his first championship that same year.

One of the other teams that are interested in the veteran forward is the Nets’ Eastern Conference rival, the Philadelphia 76ers.

“Multiple sources have the Sixers intending to offer him a three-year, $30 million contract. Time will tell what will happen. But a source added that there’s mutual interest between Tucker, 37, and the Sixers,” Keith Pompey writes per the “Philadelphia Inquirer”.

Tucker’s Relationship With KD Gives Nets Leverage

The road to Brooklyn for Tucker would involve him taking a significant pay cut. But where the Nets have leverage is that Kevin Durant and Tucker have a close relationship off the court. Despite having gone through multiple heated playoff battles, Tucker describes his relationship with KD as the two of them being “brothers.”

“He is great friends – “brothers,” in his words – with Nets star Kevin Durant, and adding a player of Tucker’s ilk would provide a much-needed toughness and frontcourt floor spacing to a Nets team lacking both. Playing with his good friend, Durant, however, would be the draw in Brooklyn, as would joining a team positioned as a perennial contender knocking on the door of an NBA championship with every year, they surround Durant with the requisite level of star power needed to compete for a title,” Winfield continues.

“Tucker, however, would likely have to take a pay cut to join the Nets. Brooklyn only has its taxpayer mid-level exception which maxes out at a three-year deal worth about $20M. If Tucker returns to the Heat, he could command a raise on his previous salary, which was a two-year deal worth $14.4M.”

With Tucker’s defensive grit and championship experience, he would be as good as it gets as a free agent signing for the Nets this summer.

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