Heat Rumors: T.J. Warren, Jae Crowder Targeted amid P.J. Tucker-76ers Links

Doric SamJune 28, 2022

BOSTON, MA - MAY 27: Grant Williams #12 of the Boston Celtics plays defense on P.J. Tucker #17 of the Miami Heat during Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 27, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat veteran forward P.J. Tucker is reportedly planning on signing with the Philadelphia 76ers when free agency opens on Thursday.

But according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Heat already have ideas for who they will pursue if Tucker chooses to depart the team after just one year.

"Should the Heat lose out on Tucker, the team, according to an NBA source, is considering either a trade for former Heat power forward Jae Crowder, who is entering the final year of a contract that pays $10.2 million next season with the Phoenix Suns, or a possible free-agent move for Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren," Winderman wrote.

Despite the apparent inevitability that Tucker is headed elsewhere, Miami's preference reportedly would be to keep him on the roster. Winderman states that the Heat plan on offering him a fully guaranteed maximum contract of $27 million over three years.

However, Winderman added that Tucker is seeking Miami's $10.3 million mid-level exception as part of his deal, which would push it to three years for $33 million. The Heat would rather not include the exception because it would trigger the hard cap, which would restrict the team's trade pursuits.

The Sixers are reportedly poised to offer Tucker a three-year, $33 million contract despite having to make a few other moves to create the mid-level exception.

The 37-year-old veteran was a key member of Miami's rotation last year. Tucker appeared in 71 games with 70 starts and averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 41.5 percent from beyond the arc. The defensive specialist helped the Heat hold opponents to 105.6 points per game, which ranked fourth in the NBA.

If the Heat lose Tucker, Crowder or Warren would be a solid consolation prize. Crowder has spent the last two seasons with the Suns, who advanced to the NBA Finals in 2021 and finished with the league's best record this past year. Warren is attempting to make a comeback from multiple stress fractures in his foot that has limited him to four games since 2020, but he averaged 19.8 points in his last full season.