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Late last week, Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey reunited with a former draft pick of his as he sent Danny Green and the 2022 23rd overall pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the veteran guard, De’Anthony Melton.

Now, Morey is working on another reunion from his Houston Rockets days as free agency approaches. As the entire NBA now knows, Miami Heat veteran P.J. Tucker plans to decline his player option for the 2022-2023 NBA season.

Therefore, the one-time NBA Champion is set to hit the open market. While a return to Miami hasn’t been ruled out as they are still in play to bring him back, the belief around the league is that the Heat have a tough battle to land Tucker once again as several contending teams are in play for Tucker.

Among those teams that are interested are the Philadelphia 76ers. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering Daryl Morey was the leader of Houston’s front office back when Tucker inked a deal to join the Rockets in 2017.

While Tucker’s market is expected to be competitive when free agency opens up, NBA reporter Marc Stein reiterates that league executives believe the Sixers are the favorites to land Tucker.

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“Numerous rival teams, meanwhile, say with even more conviction now than they did last week — when I first it reported on Wednesday — that they expect PJ Tucker to land in Philadelphia on a three-year, $30 million deal in free agency. If Pat Riley’s Heat can find a way now to re-sign Tucker, they will definitely surprise some people.”

Tucker is precisely the type of player the Sixers need for a deep playoff run. While he’s not star-caliber, per se, the veteran forward is a reliable shooter, defender, and leader. 

For a team that admitted it lacked mental toughness down the stretch of the 2022 postseason, Tucker could bring valuable veteran leadership to the Sixers, which is something the team’s star, Joel Embiid, mentioned the Sixers needed following their final game of the playoffs in 2022. 

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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