The Miami Heat eliminated the 76ers from the playoffs last month. 76ers coaches and players noted that the Heat had a greater level of toughness throughout the series. Star center Joel Embiid even highlighted P.J. Tucker mentioned explicitly as part of Miami’s edge. Check out the best new bookmakers for betting on the NBA!
“You can look at someone like P.J. Tucker,” Embiid said to reporters. He is a great player, but it’s more than his ability to make shots. It’s all about his defensive play or rebounding. He is a naturally defensive player. He believes he can go from Point A to Point B with energy and thinks no one can match him. He’s strong, he is just physically, and he is tough.
They have a few of these guys, Bam [Adebayo] or all of them. Since I’ve been here, I can’t say we have had these guys. It’s not a criticism of what we have; it’s the truth.
According to Tucker’s agent, the deal will be $33,000,000 over three years. Tucker was a priority in Philadelphia and had enough influence to affect James Harden’s next contract. If Harden had exercised his $47.2million player option, the 76ers would only have their smaller taxpayer midlevel exemption to offer Tucker. This is less than what he could have made it possible to either resign with the Heat or go to a team with the full midlevel.
Add Philadelphia using the biannual exception for Danuel house Jr. Harden is a former teammate with Tucker from the Houston Rockets. This means that Harden can earn a maximum starting salary of $38.8million to allow the Sixers not to exceed the luxury-tax apron hard cap. Harden’s contract may start at a lower wage to give Philadelphia some flexibility in the season.
The 76ers do have two perimeter defenders, De’Anthony Melt and Matisse Thybulle. However, they lack a big stopper. Tobias Harris performed well in this role during the playoffs, but it’s not his strongest skill. Tucker can cover a wide range of opposing high scorers. House can also cover various opposing high scorers, giving Philadelphia’s coaching staff more options defensively.
The Sixers’ roster will become more expensive after Embiid’s Supermax Extension kicks in this season. This will increase his salary by a projected $13million. It is not clear what sacrifices will be required. Philadelphia’s shooting has improved dramatically, and its defense is much stronger.
This roster fits better around Harden and Embiid. After two losses consecutively in the conference semifinals, we’ll see if this is enough to allow for a deeper playoff run.
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