Heat Rumors: PJ Tucker Refuses $7.4M Contract Option and Enters Free Agency | Bleacher report

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After a successful season with the Miami Heat, PJ Tucker will try to land a new contract this summer.

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the 37-year-old declined his $7.35 million player option for the 2022-23 season to become a free agent.

Charania reported that Tucker is expected to get interest from “several teams competing for the championship.”

According to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, Tucker’s decision to opt out of his deal doesn’t mean his time in South Beach is coming to an end:

Tim Reynolds By TimReynolds

PJ Tucker’s decision to opt out was 100% expected. This doesn’t mean he’s leaving Miami, the source told AP. It is likely that Heat will fight to keep him, and Tucker made it clear to teammates at the end of the season that he would like to be back.

Despite playing an integral role for the Milwaukee Bucks on their run to an NBA championship during the 2020-21 season, Tucker became an oddball during the off-season when they chose to re-sign Bobby Portis.

Speak with Marc J Spears of Andscape in May, Tucker explained that the Bucks didn’t keep him because the property didn’t want to go into the luxury tax:

“That house where everyone loves you and you can go back and it’s love. I felt like I was building that [in Milwaukee]† And then to win it, it was like, ‘Oh, yes, sure.’ And they just weren’t about the luxury tax. It just is what it is. They love you and whatever, but they wouldn’t get over it. They felt they could replace me, and they replaced me.”

Milwaukee’s loss turned out to be Miami’s gain. The veteran signed a $14.35 million two-year deal with the Heat last August. Head coach Erik Spoelstra used him in the starting line-up for 70 of his 71 games played.

Best known for his defensive exploits, Tucker became a solid offensive contributor. He averaged 7.6 points per game and made a career high 41.5 percent on his three-point attempts.

He also had his best defensive rating (110) since the 2018-19 season when he was with the Houston Rockets, per Basketball-Reference.com

Miami finished in the top five this season in points allowed (105.6) and defensive rating (109.1) Basketball-Reference.com† The Heat took #1 in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2013-14 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.

The Texas product has been the biggest potential question mark for Miami’s roster, and his free agency opens up a potential power gap that CEO Andy Elisburg will have to address.

The Heat could re-sign Tucker, but at least he’s given himself the opportunity to test the market to see what offers will be out there.

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