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4 ideal P.J. Tucker landing spots in NBA free agency

Vincent Frank

One of the more underrated players in the NBA over the past decade, P.J. Tucker is now slated to hit free agency later this summer.

The 37-year-old forward has reportedly opted out of his $7.4 million contract for next season and will hit the open market. The expectation is that a number of contending teams will target Tucker once free agency opens.

This past season for the Miami Heat, Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists on 42% shooting from three-point range. He’s still a darn good defender at his advanced age and can play a huge role on a contending team. Below, we look at four ideal landing spots for Tucker in free agency.

Related: P.J. Tucker and top 2022 NBA free agents

Miami Heat bring back P.J. Tucker

miami heat forward p.j. tucker
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

While Tucker is expected to test the waters in free agency, a return to South Beach seems to make sense. By opting out, the forward could end up landing a three-year deal in the range of $25 million by re-signing with Miami. That seems to be a tad below his market value. But at this age, it’s likely more about contending for a title than earning a huge pay day.

Tucker fit in well with the core group of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry last season. The only thing potentially holding the Heat back from re-signing Tucker is the fact that front office head Pat Riley is looking to add a bigger name and might want more scoring from his starting power forward.

Related: Kyrie Irving trade scenarios from the Brooklyn Nets

P.J. Tucker lands with the Brooklyn Nets

p.j. tucker signs with the brooklyn nets
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a scenario that suggests Tucker might end up taking the tax-payer mid-level exception to latch on with a contender. Sure it would come in less than his previously salary. That is to say, $6.4 million. Even then, it could be all about earning another NBA title after helping Milwaukee hoist the Larry O’Brien in 2021.

Brooklyn would be a tremendous fit. The idea would be for Tucker to take over at the four and have Kevin Durant play his more traditional wing spot. Talk about range and defense from the two forward positions. A lot of this will depend on where the Nets plan to play Ben Simmons next season and whether Kyrie Irving departs in free agency.

Denver Nuggets add P.J. Tucker

Denver has to have concerns over Michael Porter Jr. and the back injury that cost him all but nine games this past season. The team also dealt away fellow forward JaMychal Green in a cost-cutting move earlier in the offseason. Needless to say, there’s a frontcourt need in Denver.

As a tax-paying team, these Nuggets would only be able to offer Tucker $6.4 million on a one-year contract. But with two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic leading the charge and Jamal Murray returning from injury, they are also going to be considered a top-end title contender in 2022-23.

Related: NBA power rankings ahead of the draft

P.J. Tucker joins the defending champs

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Miami Heat
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not yet known whether the Golden State Warriors plan on using the tax-payer mid-level exception after winning their fourth NBA title in eight years. Given Golden State’s luxury tax situation, said move would cost the ownership group roughly $13 million in cold hard cash. Is Tucker worth that? We’re not too sure.

The fit is obviously ideal. Tucker can play both forward positions. He’d back up Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green, providing the Dubs with another three-point shooter and solid defender off the bench. Outside of the finances, the only thing potentially holding Golden State back from going after Tucker is the presence of stud young forward Jonathan Kuminga. He’s earned more plying time after a stellar rookie campaign.