Joel Embiid Backs Sixers ‘Strong Pursuit’ of NBA Champion Wing: Report

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers appear to be all-in on making a run to acquire PJ Tucker this off-season, and according to a June 23 report from Marc Stein, Joel Embiid has given the move his full support.

“The Sixers’ forthcoming strong pursuit of P.J. Tucker, league sources say, has the strong backing of star center Joel Embiid. I reported Wednesday that Philadelphia is regarded as the league’s clear favorite to sign Tucker if the 37-year-old is indeed leaving Miami this summer after declining his $7.4 million player option with the Heat for next season to opt for free agency,” Stein reported in his latest newsletter.

As reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Tucker has opted out of his final year with the Miami Heat, making him an unrestricted free agent as a result.

Tucker has become somewhat of a poster-boy for three-and-d wings in recent years, and his performances for the Milwaukee Bucks and Heat in recent seasons have gone a long way to confirming why that belief is so widely held.

Philadelphia’s Interest in Tucker is Well Documented

On June 22, Sixers reporter Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer also reported the Sixers’ interest in adding Tucker to their roster for the upcoming season, noting that creating the necessary cap space was the only hurdle standing in the team’s way at present.

“The executive (Daryl Morey) is pursuing former Houston power forward P.J. Tucker, league sources confirm. Sources have also said the Sixers are looking to make a three-team trade that could involve Matisse Thybulle and the No. 23 pick to create space. Sources have said the Sixers are attempting to trade Tobias Harris, but they are having a tough time getting teams to take on his lucrative contract,” Pompey explained. 

Of course, with the free agency period not set to begin until June 30, the Sixers still have time to clear the cap space needed to sign Tucker and begin reshaping their roster around the star duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid.

What Does Tucker Bring to the Sixers?

When you look around the league, there’s a reason why so many contending teams covert Tucker’s signature every off-season. Put simply, Tucker knows what it takes to win – he’s an exceptional defender that plays with genuine intensity, can knock down perimeter shots, and is a terribly underrated screener.

This past season with Miami, Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 41.5% from deep and 48.4% from the field. Sure, that type of production isn’t record-breaking, especially not in 27.9 minutes of gameplay per night, but Tuckers’ value is often outside of the box score.

The veteran wing is a quarterback on defense, and never backs down against an opponent. And most importantly, his production is consistent enough that it doesn’t drop off once the post-season begins, instead he remains at a sustainable level, ensuring the coaching staff knows what they’re getting every night.

During Miami’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals, Tucker averaged 7.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, shooting 45.1% from deep in the process – meaning his numbers actually increased as the level of competition got stronger.

And now, with the approval of Joel Embiid, Morey will look to bring that type of consistency to Philadelphia, in the hope that Tucker can be the first of multiple additions this off-season.

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