Sixers Need to Dump Ex 1st-Rounder to Add Heat’s 3-and-D Ace: Analyst

Phiadelphia 76ers, P.J. Tucker

Getty P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat shoots past Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

As we inch closer to the NBA offseason, a new name can be added to the list of possible free-agent targets for the Philadelphia 76ers. Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported that Miami Heat veteran P.J. Tucker will be opting out of his player option for next season and becoming an unrestricted free agent. The 37-year-old appeared in 71 games for the Heat this past season and averaged 7.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG while shooting 41.5% from beyond the arc.

Following this news, Bryan Toporek of Forbes broke down what it would take for the Sixers to open up the necessary cap space to bring in Tucker. While he cited that the veteran forward likely opted out to sign a new deal in Miami, there is still the chance he tests the open market.

To come close to being able to match what other suitors will offer Tucker, the Sixers will need to trade Furkan Korkmaz in a deal that returns no money. The 25-year-old is in the second year of a three-year, $15 million contract that he signed last offseason.

Korkmaz played in 67 games for the Sixers this season, and averaged 7.6 PPG, 2.6 RPG, and 1.9 APG.

Sixers Expected To Keep Tabs On Tucker

Given his extensive playoff experience, contenders are sure to line up in an attempt to acquire Tucker’s services. Back in the beginning of June, an Eastern Conference executive told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that the Sixers are a team to watch if he were to become available.

“I think the Sixers will be interested in what P.J. Tucker does in Miami,” the exec told Deveney. “He has a player option and they can only give him the taxpayer’s midlevel, but if he decides he wants out of Miami, he has a relationship with [Daryl] Morey and I think he would be intrigued playing with [Joel] Embiid. He is a guy to watch there.”

Following the Sixers’ elimination by the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Joel Embiid gave his seal of approval on a signing of this nature. During a postgame interview, the MVP runner-up said he feels the team has never had a guy like Tucker during his tenure in Philadelphia.

“You look at a guy like P.J. Tucker, a great player. But it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about what he does on the defensive end, rebounding the ball,” Embiid told reporters on May 12. “Since I’ve been here, I’d be lying if I said we had those types of guys. Nothing against what we have, it’s just the truth. We never have PJ Tucker, that’s really what I’m trying to say.”

P.J. Tucker Is a Perfect Fit For The Sixers

From a fit standpoint, Tucker is the exact type of player the Sixers should be looking to add this offseason. He is a hard-nosed, versatile defender that can also be utilized as a floor-spacer. Tucker also brings championship experience, something the locker room might need following rumors of the team shopping Danny Green.

Having connections with Morey and Harden could give the Sixers an edge among other possible suitors. While some pieces need to be moved around to open up space, it’s an avenue worth pursuing if the interest is there.

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