76ers’ PJ Tucker admits he didn’t want to leave Heat: ‘I thought I was going to retire in Miami’

PJ Tucker signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers at the start of free agency last summer, but would prefer to stay with the Miami Heat, the team he played for last season.

“Honestly, I didn’t want to leave,” Tucker said of Miami, via the Miami Herald . “I said I didn’t want to leave. But their situation and because they didn’t want to be harsh, I knew it would be a possibility. My family is still there. So obviously I wanted to be there, but it didn’t work out… I thought I would I was retiring to Miami.”

For Tucker, the decision to sign with the Sixers came down to one thing: money. He wanted the full mid-level waiver, and the Sixers were willing to give it to him, while the Heat had reservations. Ultimately, Tucker signed a fully guaranteed, three-year, $33 million deal with Philly.

“I wanted the full midrange,” Tucker explained. “I thought I deserved the full mid-level and that’s something I wanted. They knew that coming out of the gate. I expressed that I wanted it from the beginning. I feel like for what we’ve done, for what we’ve had, I feel like I deserved that and it’s exactly what it is.

“I think they wanted the negotiations to be a little slower than they were,” he added. “Just because of the interest right away. Nobody thought I’d take three years and then get multiple offers for three whole years, I was ready to move and figure it out.”

Although he was disappointed with the way things played out, Tucker doesn’t hold any kind of grudge against Miami. Instead, he looks back fondly on his time with the team.

“But I don’t blame them at all,” Tucker said. “I understand that they didn’t want to be tough and wanted to be able to make moves later on what they thought the team might need. … It was fun. It’s just one of those experiences that I’ll remember.”

Philadelphia’s interest in Tucker became apparent soon after the Sixers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring. In the immediate aftermath of the loss, Joel Embiid mentioned Tucker by name when discussing what was missing from Philadelphia.

“You look at someone like PJ Tucker. He’s a great player, but it’s not about knocking down shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball,” Embiid said. “Look, obviously, defensively, he plays with so much energy, he believes he can get from point A to point B and he believes nobody can beat him.

“And he’s tough. He’s just physical and tough. And they’ve got some of those guys, whether it’s Bam and all those guys. And being here, I’d be lying if I said we’ve had those types of guys. Nothing against that that we have, it’s just the truth. We never had PJ Tucker.”

The Philadelphia front office heard Embiid loud and clear as they went out and dropped the proverbial bag on the veteran forward. They may have been a little too eager to sign Tucker, actually, as the organization was ultimately found guilty of tampering during the pursuit of Tucker and traded a second-round pick as a result.

At the end of the day, you can’t blame Tucker for following the money, but you also can’t blame the fans in Philadelphia if they feel slightly annoyed that the team’s top offseason addition would technically rather be somewhere else .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *