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Following another early exit from the postseason, the Philadelphia 76ers are once again trying to figure out precisely what they need to get past the second round of the playoffs.

Sixers’ star center Joel Embiid had an idea following their Game 6 loss against the Miami Heat, which ended Philadelphia’s postseason run. In Embiid’s eyes, the Sixers need a veteran “tough guy” similar to what they had in previous years with the veteran backup forward, Mike Scott.

While Embiid mentioned Scott as the only “enforcer” the Sixers had during the big man’s time with the organization, the star center made it clear that the Sixers needed one as reliable as PJ Tucker. Now, the Sixers have a chance to actually bring in Tucker himself.

Declining the Heat

PJ Tucker has a $7.4 million option attached to his contract for the 2022-2023 season. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Tucker will decline the option. Therefore, the veteran forward will become a free agent rather than return to Miami for another season.

As expected, the Sixers reportedly have an interest in Tucker, according to Brian Windhorst at ESPN. 

No Surprise

Philly’s rumored interest in Tucker shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not only did Embiid publicly make it clear he’d love to play with a player like Tucker last month, but Tucker also has familiarity with Sixers President Daryl Morey and their star guard James Harden.

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And because of the Houston Rockets connection in Philadelphia now, the Sixers are also reportedly interested in the Rockets’ veteran guard Eric Gordon, per Windhorst.

Gordon’s been in the league since 2008-2009. While he started his career with the Los Angeles Clippers, he’s had stints in New Orleans and Houston as well. Following the 2021-2022 season, Gordon wrapped up his sixth season with the Rockets.

The veteran guard started in 46 of the 57 games he appeared in last year. Averaging just under 30 minutes on the court, Gordon put up 13 points per game while shooting 47 percent from the field and 41 percent from deep on an average of 5.3 attempts.

Unlike Tucker, Gordon will be under contract in Houston for the 2022-2023 NBA season. With two years left on his current deal, Gordon is slated to make over $40 million in salary over the next two seasons. Considering the Rockets are still in the process of a rebuild, they’ll likely entertain trade offers for Gordon. 

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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