The Philadelphia 76ers announced that new starter P.J. Tucker had undergone an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. He has already been cleared for “on-court work” and won’t miss any time, according to a medical update from the team.
The Sixers revealed the news minutes before starting Media Day on Monday at their practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey said it was just a “10-minute procedure” and nothing to worry about. They are set to begin training camp at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina from September 27 through October 2.
“We’re not that concerned by it,” head coach Doc Rivers said of Tucker’s injury. “Listen, he’s a guy that we are really looking forward to having in the fold, and we’re going to keep him healthy all year. That’s the goal.”
Tucker was a major signing for Philadelphia this offseason after they stole him away from an Eastern Conference rival. He is an agitator on the defensive end. The 37-year-old 3-and-D wing was a thorn in their side throughout the playoffs, a player Joel Embiid openly lobbied for after the Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat.
“This team is good enough to compete head-to-head with anybody in the league,” Tucker said upon signing in Philly, “and I’m going to come in here and do whatever I can to help get us to that next level.”
Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists while shooting 41.5% from three-point land in 71 games last season. He’s expected to start alongside Tobias Harris at forward, with James Harden and Tyrese Maxey holding down the guard spots.
NBA Tampering Investigation Remains Ongoing
The NBA league office opened up a tampering case against the Sixers in late July centered on the way the organization freed up money to sign free agents. They have been interested in “pursuing circumstances surrounding James Harden declining a $47 million option,” per ESPN’s Adrian Wokjnarowski. Morey attempted to provide an update on a fluid situation.
“On the NBA investigation, it’s ongoing so I can’t comment, so I should have just said that,” Morey told reporters on September 26. “I think the league office does a great job.”
Commissioner Adam Silver chimed in on the subject on September 14, telling reporters he hoped to wrap the investigation up in the “next few weeks.”
“I think what prompted them was sort of just the tick-tock chronology around sort of when signings are permissible and the announcements of those signings,” Silver said. “And the information that came out about them, which was cause for the league office to investigate.”
Tucker Ready to See Minutes at Center?
There has been a lot of talk about the backup center spot in Philly. Paul Reed and Charles Bassey were the top two candidates there until the team inked Montrezl Harrell in free agency. Iron should sharpen iron at camp, although keep an eye on Tucker to see minutes at the 5. He was the first person Rivers mentioned on Monday when discussing the position.
All-Star Jimmy Butler was speaking at Miami Heat Media Day and made sure to remind everyone that Tucker was a “traitor.” He hasn’t forgiven his former teammate for ditching South Beach for South Street. Butler spent half his interview addressing his new haircut and why he did it: “Babyface assassin look. It’s kind of cute, isn’t it?”