P.J. Tucker

Sixers To Sign P.J. Tucker, Danuel House, Trevelin Queen

JULY 1: Queen’s deal is now official, the Sixers announced in a press release. Minimum-salary contracts can be officially completed during the July moratorium.

JUNE 30: It’s fair to say Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has a type. Philadelphia has reportedly agreed to terms with three players who used to play for Morey’s former team in Houston.

Free agent forward P.J. Tucker is finalizing a three-year, $33.2MM fully guaranteed deal with the 76ers, agent Andre Buck tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). That long-rumored agreement will use the team’s full non-taxpayer mid-level exception.

The Sixers have also agreed to sign free agent forward Danuel House, tweets Charania. House is getting a two-year, $8.5MM deal, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

House’s deal, which will be completed using the bi-annual exception, has a second-year player option, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Finally, Philadelphia has reached a deal with G League MVP Trevelin Queen, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The guard will sign a two-year, minimum-salary contract with a partial guarantee ($300K) in year one, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

As a result of using their full MLE and BAE, the Sixers will be hard-capped for the coming season.

The 76ers were able to use those exceptions in full due to James Harden opting out of his contract and planning to accept a lower first-year salary on a new deal with the team. If Harden’s $47MM+ option had been on Philadelphia’s books, the club would’ve been hard-pressed to remain under a hard cap.

The Sixers have been mentioned as Tucker’s most likely landing spot for much of the last week. Star center Joel Embiid singled out Tucker in his comments to the media after the team lost to Miami in the playoffs, stating that Philadelphia needed a tough, versatile player like that in its frontcourt. Needless to say, Embiid will be happy that the Sixers went out and got the 37-year-old.

House, 29, helped shore up the Jazz’s perimeter defense and hit 41.5% of his three-pointers in a 25-game stint with the club this past season. He’ll give the Sixers another three-and-D rotation player.

P.J. Tucker Unlikely To Return To Heat

There will be significant interest in P.J. Tucker when free agency begins later today, and the veteran forward is considered unlikely to re-sign with the Heat, according to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Schiffer mentions the Hawks, Timberwolves, Nets, Bulls and Sixers among the teams that plan to target Tucker, adding that they will offer either the non-taxpayers’ mid-level exception of $10.49MM, or in the case of the Nets and Hawks, the taxpayers’ MLE of $6.48MM. Atlanta could also make a trade to shed salary and get below the tax line, opening up the use of the full MLE.

A report earlier this week suggested that Miami is willing to give Tucker a guaranteed three-year deal, but at less than the full MLE. It appears several teams are ready to outbid the Heat for his services.

Philadelphia has been rumored as a prime suitor for Tucker, as president of basketball operations Daryl Morey also signed him in Houston. Atlanta and Brooklyn have been mentioned as well, but Minnesota and Chicago are new to the list.

The 37-year-old Tucker is an elite defender who was part of the Bucks’ title-winning roster in 2021 and helped the Heat become the No. 1 seed in the East this season. He averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game for Miami and shot 41.5% from three-point range.

Heat Rumors: Tucker, Portis, Lowry, Crowder

Heat players are reportedly lobbying free agent forward P.J. Tucker to remain with the team, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, who says All-Star wing Jimmy Butler, in particular, is “very much hoping” Tucker returns to Miami.

However, James Harden‘s decision to opt out of a $47MM+ salary for next season and likely sign a new deal starting at a lower number is the latest indication that the Sixers are a serious threat to lure Tucker to Philadelphia. Harden’s move clears a path for Philadelphia to offer its full mid-level exception to Tucker.

If Tucker does leave, the Heat will be in the market for a power forward, and T.J. Warren, Kyle Anderson, Thaddeus Young, and Nicolas Batum will be among the free agents on their radar, Jackson writes. A Wednesday report indicated the club would likely also have interest in Danilo Gallinari if he’s waived after being traded by San Antonio.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Jackson hears from a source that Miami would be a team that appeals to Bobby Portis if he decides to leave Milwaukee. But Portis is considered likely to stick with the Bucks, while the Heat are reluctant to hard-cap themselves for the season by giving their full mid-level exception to a free agent, so it’s an unlikely match.
  • Jackson also hears that Kyle Lowry wasn’t upset by Pat Riley‘s end-of-season comments about how his conditioning must improve. The Heat have assured Lowry they have no intention of trading him in a deal for Kyrie Irving, Jackson adds.
  • After saying that the Heat had emerged as the frontrunners to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links) walked back that report. As Gambadoro explains, he can’t see Phoenix taking on Duncan Robinson‘s contract, and the Heat don’t have any other obvious salary-matching pieces they’d include in an offer for Crowder.

Heat Rumors: Herro, Crowder, Warren, Cap Situation

“Early indications” are that a potential Tyler Herro extension with the Heat this offseason would land in the range of $25MM per year, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Herro will become eligible for a rookie scale extension when the NBA’s 2022/23 league year begins later this week. He boosted his stock during the regular season by averaging 20.7 points per game and making a career-high 39.9% of his three-point attempts, but a mediocre playoff run (12.9 PPG with a .229 3PT%) clouded his value entering the summer.

The Heat and Herro are under no obligation to reach an extension this offseason, but doing so would keep him off the restricted free agent market in 2023. Typically, rookie scale extensions worth less than the maximum aren’t agreed to at or near the start of free agency, so the team and the 22-year-old may take a few weeks or months to negotiate a new deal. The extension deadline is the day before the ’22/23 season begins.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • If the Heat can’t retain P.J. Tucker in free agency, they’ll consider attempting to trade for Suns forward Jae Crowder or potentially signing free agent forward T.J. Warren, a source tells Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman stresses that those would be fallback options for the team, which is willing to offer Tucker three fully guaranteed years. Crowder played in Miami briefly in 2019/20 before leaving for Phoenix in free agency.
  • In a separate story for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman explores how the Heat’s reluctance to impose a hard cap on themselves this offseason may impact their roster moves. It would mean the bi-annual exception can’t be used on a player like Caleb Martin and would mean the Heat’s best offer for P.J. Tucker would start at $8.4MM (via the Non-Bird exception) rather than $10.35MM (the full mid-level).
  • In case you missed it, a report earlier today suggested that Victor Oladipo is considered likely to leave the Heat in free agency.

Heat Willing To Give Tucker Guaranteed Three-Year Deal

The Heat are willing to give impending free agent P.J. Tucker a guaranteed three-year deal but don’t want to invest their full mid-level exception on the veteran forward, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Using the full mid-level ($10.3MM) would push Miami into a hard cap situation, which would seriously curtail its ability to make other moves. The Heat instead plan to offer Tucker the maximum allowable three years using the Non-Bird exception. The contract would include a starting salary of $8.4MM and would be worth about $26.5MM in total.

Tucker is declining his $7.35MM option in order to enter unrestricted free agency. The Sixers have emerged as the frontrunners for Tucker, reportedly ready to offer him a three-year contract worth $27MM with incentives that could increase the value to $30MM.

If the non-taxpayer mid-level exception is used on Tucker, the Heat would only be able to offer restricted free agent Caleb Martin or any outside free agent their $4.1MM bi-annual exception or a minimum-salary deal, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald notes.

Atlantic Rumors: Tucker, Sixers, Knicks, Robinson, Nets

With free agency still two days away, rumors about P.J. Tucker landing in Philadelphia continue to percolate. After Marc Stein reported earlier in the week that multiple executives believe the Sixers will sign Tucker to a three-year, $30MM contract, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer conveys a similar sentiment today.

According to Pompey, three sources believe Tucker to the 76ers is a “done deal,” while a fourth source said he’d be shocked if the veteran forward doesn’t end up in Philadelphia. Sources tell Pompey that Tucker’s three-year deal with the Sixers, assuming it materializes, could be worth $27MM with incentives that increase the value to $30MM.

The Sixers still need to do some cap work in order to realistically make that kind of offer to Tucker. If James Harden turns down his $47MM+ player option and agrees to a lesser first-year salary on a new contract, the team could create the cap flexibility necessary to use its full mid-level exception on Tucker. But Harden is expected to opt in and then sign an extension, which means Philadelphia would have to shed some salary. Furkan Korkmaz ($5MM), Matisse Thybulle ($4.4MM), and Georges Niang ($3.5MM) are among the club’s potential trade candidates.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Knicks are considering converting Jericho Sims‘ two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, sources tell Ian Begley of SNY.tv. If that occurs, second-round pick Trevor Keels would likely receive a two-way pact. Both moves were considered likely as of Tuesday afternoon, Begley writes.
  • Within the same story, Begley says he expects the Knicks to give strong consideration to re-signing Taj Gibson if they waive him this week as part of their cap-clearing efforts.
  • The four-year, $48MM contract Robert Williams signed with Boston last fall is viewed by rival executives as a fair comparable for Mitchell Robinson, according to Steve Popper of Newsday, who suggests the Knicks likely wouldn’t want to go much higher than that to retain Robinson this summer.
  • The Nets are expected to give David Duke a prominent role in summer league games next month and will give him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in 2022/23, sources tell Chris Milholen of NetsDaily. Duke received a two-way qualifying offer from Brooklyn, as we relayed earlier today.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Jovic, Heat, Tucker, Magic

The Wizards have two primary objectives entering free agency, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic: Re-signing Bradley Beal, and finding a starting-caliber point guard. Beal is expected to decline his $36.4MM player option to become an unrestricted free agent, and he indicated in both March and May that he was leaning toward re-signing with Washington.

The Wizards can offer Beal a five-year contract worth a projected $247MM+, while the most a rival team could offer him in free agency would be a projected $183.6MM over four years.

On the point guard front, Robbins notes that Washington won’t have any cap space entering free agency, so the team will be limited to the mid-level exception, projected to be worth $44.5MM over four years, and the bi-annual exception, projected to be worth $8.3MM over two years. Given the relatively modest tools at the Wizards’ disposal, Robbins believes finding a trade or a sign-and-trade (Tyus Jones?) might be the only viable pathways to finding a legitimate starter at point guard.

Some trade options that Robbins mentions include Monte Morris and Malcolm Brogdon, among others. He also says the Wizards could try to pry away a member of Orlando’s crowded backcourt, listing Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs as players worth calling about.

Here’s more from the Southeast:

  • The Heat selected Serbian forward Nikola Jovic with the No. 27 pick of the draft, and Pat Riley, the team’s president of basketball operations, said he views Jovic as a well-rounded offensive player with room for growth. “I think the overall skillset. When you talk about a player being a complete player, that’s what we’re talking about. How good is that completeness will come with development. What is a complete player, someone who can pass, who can dribble, someone who can run pick-and-rolls and shoot the ball. He’s a long-range shooter, a mid-range shooter. He scores well with the layup. He’ll take the ball and dunk it over somebody. He has those kinds of offensive skills that he can get better at. And then he’ll found out some new things that he’ll be taught where he’ll say, ‘Wow, I can do these things.’ That comes with development,” Riley said, per Heat.com.
  • Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald explores the options the Heat have to try and re-sign P.J. Tucker. Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke glowingly of Tucker after the season ended, so clearly the Heat value Tucker, but he just turned 37 and the Sixers are considered the frontrunner to sign him in free agency, according to Marc Stein. Chiang writes that if Miami offers Tucker the full mid-level exception, as the Sixers are rumored to be offering, the Heat would be hard-capped at the tax apron of $155MM, and they’d be limited in what they could offer restricted free agent Caleb Martin. Chiang says trying to sell Tucker on his starting role and the success he had with the team might be one route to take, mentioning a slight discount using his Non-Bird Rights (about $26.5MM over three years). However, Tucker has shown an inclination to earn the most he possibly could previously in free agency, so that seems unlikely to work.
  • The Magic‘s draft secrecy could provide long-term benefits, according to Terry Gilliam Jr. of The Orlando Sentinel. The Magic kept their intention to draft Paolo Banchero hidden until right before he was selected No. 1 last Thursday, which was all according to plan. “It helps you do business better,” president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman told Gilliam. “Whatever partners you’re trying to engage with — whether it’s an agent, another team or whomever — they trust you more if they know you can be discreet with managing your information. It’s a smart way to do business. It’s a part of our strategy of success.”

Free Agent Rumors: Brunson, Tucker, LaVine, Sexton, Campazzo

Marc Stein isn’t certain whether the Mavericks or the Knicks will end up signing Jalen Brunson this offseason, but he hints in his latest Substack article that it would be a surprise if the point guard ends up anywhere else.

After being identified earlier this year as possible suitors for Brunson, the Pistons and Pacers are no longer being mentioned as potential destinations, Stein writes. Both teams used lottery picks to draft guards last Thursday, with Detroit selecting Jaden Ivey and Indiana nabbing Bennedict Mathurin.

Elsewhere on the free agency front, Stein provides an update on P.J. Tucker after reporting last week that the Sixers are considered the biggest threat to sign the forward away from the Heat. According to Stein, numerous rival teams are saying “with even more conviction now than they did last week” that they believe Tucker will end up in Philadelphia on a three-year, $30MM deal.

After adding De’Anthony Melton, the Sixers project to be a taxpayer and would likely have to shed a little salary in order to give Tucker $30MM over three years. Using the full mid-level exception or acquiring him via sign-and-trade are the only ways Philadelphia could realistically offer a $10MM annual salary — either approach would hard-cap team salary at the tax apron.

Here are more free agency rumors from across the NBA:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago writes that all signs still point toward the Bulls being prepared to offer Zach LaVine a five-year, maximum-salary contract when free agency opens this week, with LaVine likely to accept.
  • The Wizards have some interest in Collin Sexton but are probably in the market for a more traditional point guard in free agency, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports in a subscriber-exclusive story. Fedor believes the Cavaliers remain in the driver’s seat to re-sign Sexton, especially given that some of his potential suitors – including Detroit – drafted guards last Thursday.
  • After indicating an openness to returning overseas, Nuggets free agent guard Facundo Campazzo clarified that his goal is to remain in the NBA. He tweeted out a statement in Spanish that translates to English as follows: My priority one, two, and three is to continue in the NBA. For now, I don’t have in mind to return to Europe. It is obvious that at some point it will happen, but not now. I have it very clear: I want to try again, in whatever franchise it is, but to try again.
  • In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes an in-depth look at which teams project to have cap room, which will be taxpayers, and which fall somewhere in between.

Stein’s Latest: Clifford, Hornets, Pistons, Jazz, More

As the Hornets resume their head coaching search following Kenny Atkinson‘s decision to back out of an agreement with the team, Marc Stein suggests in his latest Substack column that a surprising name may be on Charlotte’s radar.

According to Stein, there’s some “serious mounting buzz” that Steve Clifford, who coached the Hornets from 2013-18, has emerged as a candidate to replace James Borrego. Charlotte is reportedly in the market for a candidate with previous head coaching experience and is certainly familiar with Clifford. He took the club to the postseason in 2014 and 2016 — those are the Hornets’ only playoff appearances since 2010.

Mike D’Antoni, who was said to be meeting with Hornets owner Michael Jordan this week, was a finalist during the initial search appears to still be in contention for the job. There have been conflicting reports on whether Terry Stotts was also a finalist before the team reached a deal with Atkinson — Stein writes that D’Antoni was the “only other known finalist” at that point.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Confirming that the Pistons are expected to pursue Suns RFA center Deandre Ayton, Stein says Ayton would embrace the idea of teaming up with Cade Cunningham in Detroit. Stein adds that Miles Bridges and Collin Sexton are believed to be ahead of Jalen Brunson on the Pistons’ list of other potential free agent targets. Both Bridges and Sexton will be restricted free agents, while Brunson will be unrestricted.
  • There’s an increasing belief in coaching circles that Jazz CEO Danny Ainge would like to hire an up-and-coming first-time head coach to replace Quin Snyder, according to Stein, who identifies Celtics assistant Will Hardy and Suns assistant Kevin Young as candidates who have impressed Utah so far.
  • After writing on Wednesday that the Sixers would be the favorites to sign P.J. Tucker if the forward leaves the Heat, Stein says today that Philadelphia’s impending pursuit of Tucker has the “strong backing” of star center Joel Embiid.
  • In addition to OG Anunoby, the Trail Blazers maintain interest in Thunder swingman Luguentz Dort, says Stein. Portland’s interest in Dort was previously reported. Portland’s No. 7 overall pick could be in play as the team seeks an upgrade on the wing.

Stein’s Latest: Irving, Heat, Brunson, Tucker, Collins

Kyrie Irving has reportedly talked to LeBron James about a reunion in L.A., but it’s “a stretch” to say the Lakers are currently trying to acquire Irving, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column. There’s increased speculation this week that Irving and the Nets may not be able to work out a new contract, and the Lakers are believed to be one of his potential landing spots if he does leave Brooklyn.

However, Stein is skeptical of their chances considering their current financial situation. If Irving opts in to his $36.9MM salary for next season, the Lakers don’t have the necessary trade assets to pry him away from the Nets, Stein states. And if he opts out, L.A. can’t offer more than the taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected at $6.39MM.

Stein expects Irving to remain in Brooklyn, saying it’s unlikely he’ll pass on such a lucrative player option. Stein also cites a leaguewide expectation that the Nets will work out at least a short-term deal with Irving to avoid causing any friction with Kevin Durant.

Stein shares information on a few more topics:

  • The Heat could be a team to watch if the Nets decide to trade Irving. Although Irving doesn’t seem like a natural fit for “Heat culture,” Stein notes that Miami is always willing to pursue stars when they hit the market.
  • League sources tell Stein that the Knicks would be a legitimate threat to sign Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson if they can clear enough cap space to make a max offer. The Brunson family’s connections to team president Leon Rose and the team’s recent hiring of Rick Brunson, Jalen’s father, as an assistant coach give New York an advantage. However, Stein notes that the Knicks’ efforts to unload salary suffered a setback with Alec Burks‘ offseason foot surgery.
  • The Sixers are considered “by far the favorite” to sign Heat forward P.J. Tucker if he decides to leave Miami. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who signed Tucker in Houston, is reportedly willing to offer a three-year, $30MM contract.
  • A deal with the Kings involving Harrison Barnes is among the Hawks‘ “prime options” as they try to work out a John Collins trade, Stein tweets.