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Joel Embiid did not go unheard following the Philadelphia 76ers’ Game 6 loss against the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. 

“You look at someone like P.J. Tucker. Great player, but it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball,” said Embiid. “You look at, obviously, defensively, he plays with so much energy, believes that he can get from point A to point B, and he believes that no one can beat him. And he’s tough. He’s just physical, and he’s tough.”

“I’d be lying if I said that we’ve had those types of guys. Nothing against what we have, it’s just the truth. We never had P.J. Tucker. That’s really what I’m trying to say.”

Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey was tasked to sign a P.J. Tucker-type player this offseason. Now, it seems the Sixers could straight up land the veteran forward after he decided to decline his player option with Miami to become an unrestricted free agent.

Tucker could return to Miami on a better deal, but other teams can also make their offers. This week, several reports indicated there is mutual interest between Tucker and the Sixers. In fact, NBA writer Marc Stein reports that Philly is “regarded as by far the favorite” to ink Tucker.

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“If P.J. Tucker is prepared to leave Miami, Philadelphia is regarded as by far the favorite to sign him away, league sources say. Tucker is poised to receive a three-year, $30 million contract offer in free agency from Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, GM for Tucker’s first three seasons in Houston.”

Tucker indeed has connections to the Sixers. As mentioned above, Daryl Morey was one of the reasons Tucker landed with the Houston Rockets back in 2017. Therefore, Tucker was also teammates with James Harden from the 2017 season up until last year before the Beard was traded to Brooklyn.

As expected, the market to sign Tucker will be competitive. As he’s a valuable veteran and an NBA champion, several hopeful contenders intend to make an offer for the 37-year-old forward. Based on the latest rumors surrounding the Sixers, it seems Philadelphia will be near the front of the line to land the Miami veteran. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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