P.J. Tucker free agency rumors aren’t a good sign for the Knicks

The New York Knicks traded away the No. 11 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, along with Kemba Walker, to clear cap space for what’s expected to be a busy free agency period. It’s a given that Leon Rose and New York are going after Jalen Brunson, but what are the Knicks’ Atlantic Division rivals planning to do?

We know that things are crumbling across the river with the Brooklyn Nets, which is quite entertaining, but the Philadelphia Sixers could be getting a key addition in free agency.

P.J. Tucker and the Miami Heat came up short against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, and instead of re-signing with the Heat in hopes of making it to the NBA Finals, Tucker reportedly has his sights set on the Sixers.

Trading for James Harden was supposed to bring a title back to Philadelphia and that wasn’t the case this past season. He’s expected to opt into his $47.4 million player option to then sign a two-year extension. Harden isn’t the key to the Sixers hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, but Tucker could be.

Knicks’ Atlantic Division rival is reportedly going to sign P.J. Tucker in free agency

According to Marc Stein (subscription required):

Numerous rival teams, meanwhile, say with even more conviction now than they did last week — when I first reported on Wednesday — that they expect P.J. Tucker to land in Philadelphia on a three-year $30 million deal in free agency.

If Philadelphia signs Tucker, and that seems to be what’s going to happen, he’d be a huge boost to the Sixers. He and Harden spent three full seasons playing together with the Houston Rockets, so the two former teammates could reunite on the East Coast.

We all know that Harden isn’t known for his defense (and that’s putting it nicely), but Tucker is. The 37-year-old had a 109.5 defensive rating in 2021-22, which helped lead Miami to the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA. Tucker provides a sense of grit that doesn’t always show up in box scores. Not to mention, he won a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020-21.

There were rumors about him teaming up with his good friend Kevin Durant in Brooklyn, but that situation has taken a turn. The Nets are no longer a free-agent destination.

Knicks fans should be hoping that Tucker stays out of the Atlantic Division completely. The last thing that Philadelphia fans need is a reason to be even more obnoxious.