The Philadelphia 76ers were expected to be aggressive at the trade deadline and the buzzards are circling around one player right now. Houston Rockets veteran P.J. Tucker is the biggest name to watch with the deadline less than three weeks away.
Tucker will either get traded for a second-round pick or sign with Philly after getting bought out, per Tom Haberstroh of TrueHoop. The report cited “several rival executives” saying Tucker was headed to the Sixers.
The 35-year-old stretch forward would provide great depth behind Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle, another lock-down defender who can do all the dirty work for a playoff team. Tucker is also a capable three-point shooter, especially from the corner baseline. He’s averaging 4.4 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 31.4% percent from deep, significantly down from his 35.9% career number.
Remember, Sixers president Daryl Morey signed Tucker to a four-year deal when he was running the show in Houston. He’s very familiar with both his personality and skillset so it makes a ton of sense from an organizational standpoint.
And the price tag could be low if the Rockets and Tucker agree to mutually part ways in a buyout scenario. He’s due roughly $8 million in base salary for the 2020-21 season and becomes an unrestricted free agent next year. Maybe Tucker eats half of it to go help Philly win a championship.
Several rival executives reportedly expect P.J. Tucker to eventually end up in Philadelphia.
Does Morey bring in Tucker?
How much does this move raise the #Sixers Title chances?
— Justin Persicketti (@j_persicketti) March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin Another Buyout Candidate
While the Sixers haven’t been formally linked to Blake Griffin, it’s another name to keep an eye on. The Detroit Pistons’ power forward is far from the player he once was in his glory days — you could make the argument he flat-out stinks — but Griffin (6-foot-9, 250 pounds) still has the size and power to make an impact on the defensive end.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Detroit has agreed to buy Griffin out of his contract. They attempted to trade the 31-year-old but no team wanted to pick up the remaining $36.6 million he’s due this season, let alone another $39 million in 2021-22. The Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and Portland Trail Blazers are the front-runners to land Griffin.
Griffin has interest from many of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams in the near future, sources said. https://t.co/8Qpbbp4ggE
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 5, 2021
However, don’t count out the Sixers from at least making a phone call. There is no one other than Mike Scott behind Tobias Harris at the power forward spot which could be problematic down the stretch. Scott has battled injuries and inconsistent play all year, while Harris has been nursing a knee contusion in recent days.
Joel Embiid Will Play in All-Star Game
Sixers star center Joel Embiid was selected to play on Team Durant in this weekend’s All-Star Game in Atlanta. His friend and teammate Ben Simmons will be on the other baseline representing Team LeBron.
Joel Embiid will represent Team Durant in the 2021 All-Star Game.
Doc Rivers will also be head coach of Team Durant.
— Lauren Rosen (@LaurenMRosen) March 5, 2021
Embiid, the leading candidate for NBA MVP, confirmed he’ll play despite recent issues with back tightness. He squashed any rumor of him missing the festivities in post-game comments after beating the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
“Like I said before, you can never take those occasions for granted,” Embiid told reporters. “It’s a great feeling to be part of the best players in the world. I’m just looking to go out there, stay safe, and have fun playing the best game in basketball.”
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) March 4, 2021