On Tuesday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst linked the Sixers to Miami Heat’s P.J. Tucker. Tucker, a former teammate of James Harden from their Rockets days, had back-to-back terrific playoffs for the 2022 Heat and championship-winning 2021 Milwaukee Bucks, as a 3-and-D forward.
Joel Embiid had high praise for Tucker after the Sixers were eliminated in six games vs. Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat:
.@dmorey heard @JoelEmbiid loud and clear. Embiid wants PJ Tucker, he gets PJ Tucker#Sixers #76ers #PhilaUnite #TTP https://t.co/PGkkMr5gPt pic.twitter.com/AT7RKtw1Ep— Bleav In 76ers (@BleavIn76ers) June 22, 2022
Our Harrison Grimm analyzed that scenario, and rumors that another former teammate of Harden’s in Eric Gordon could be on the move as well.
Now according to a late night report from Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, there’s more intel on the Tucker scenario.
Per Pompey, on his #reportflow:
“Now, the executive 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....”
Multiple sources have the Sixers intending to offer [Tucker] 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.
Things could change before the start of free agency at 6 p.m. on June 30, but league executives believe there’s a good chance Tucker will become a Sixer.”
The piece also noted that the Sixers do not currently have the cap space to make this work so they’d need to swing some sort of trade, and balances the report by adding that a source close to the Sixers actually refutes the idea Philadelphia is interested in acquiring Tucker.
So maybe the Sixers are gunning for Tucker, maybe they’re not. And maybe if they did make an offer the Heat would swing a comparable one tempting him to stay in South Beach, where there is a favorable tax situation.
Who really knows. But as Bryan Toporek of Forbes pointed out on Twitter, the mere idea that the Sixers could make an offer like this would imply they’re exploring ways to finagle a non-tax mid-level exception.
Multiple sources tell @PompeyOnSixers that the Sixers intend to offer P.J. Tucker a three-year, $30 million contract, which implies they expect to have access to the NTMLE. https://t.co/5qKFzV5tLU— Bryan Toporek (@btoporek) June 22, 2022
The non-tax mid-level is about $4M more than the tax payer’s mid-level exception.
So it’s possible the Sixers are exploring ways to free up some cap space (or more specifically, room under The Apron) to explore free agents.
If things didn’t work out with Tucker come the start of free agency, our Harrison Grimm has looked at a few other targets Philadelphia could consider.
Jackson Frank profiled Gary Harris who is also an interesting name, Gary Payton Jr. who just won a championship, Wes Matthews, as well as the Martin Twins. Check those out.
We’ll probably know more about the cap situation after Thursday’s NBA Draft. We won’t be surprised if they trade their pick. Apparently, the only people who haven’t received calls from Daryl Morey about pick no. 23 and one of Danny Green or Matisse Thybulle are those whose phones conked out:
Woj just joked that Daryl Morey has offered #23 and Matisse Thybulle to every team in the NBA. Said if you’re a GM who hasn’t been offered that package and/or Danny Green, your phone is turned off.— Adam Aaronson (@SixersAdam) June 22, 2022
“I think there’s a very good chance that pick is somewhere else on draft night.”