PJ Tucker is one of the best defenders in the NBA. The veteran spent the last decade going against the best players in the league, earning a reputation that made him one of the most respected defenders in the association.
He confirmed that last season when he helped the Milwaukee Bucks win the 2021 NBA championship, taking complex tasks on the way to the title. PJ was great wherever he went, but things reached the next level once he joined Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
After winning the championship, people believed the Bucks would retain Tucker, a crucial piece of their title. Well, they didn't match the Miami Heat's offer for the big man, leaving the door open for PJ, who joined the Floridian team last offseason.
This was a very surprising move, but according to reports, Milwaukee's luxury tax bill played a big role in not matching or exceeding the Heat’s offer. Talking with Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Tucker opened up about his exit from the Bucks, saying he was as surprised as the rest of the NBA world.
“I was pretty surprised,” Tucker said of not ending up back with the Bucks. “You win a championship and you’re part of winning something special like that, you would expect that. A chance of it not happening? There’s a chance. It didn’t happen. Does it happen a lot? I don’t think so, not in that situation, not in those situations. You watch role guys in series in the past, usually those guys go back. So I’ll take my situation as just that, a particular situation. I move on from it and keep it going.”
Even after that move, the former Houston Rockets player landed in a team with a great culture. The Heat's mentality matches PJ's, which is great for a player trying to win consecutive championships with two different franchises.
With his arrival, Tucker made the Heat a contender to come out of the West, although the competition will be harder this season. The Milwaukee Bucks retained most of their championship roster while the Brooklyn Nets hope to overcome the Kyrie Irving saga and have a deep playoff run.
Other teams like the Chicago Bulls added interesting pieces and the Philadelphia 76ers, despite all the drama around Ben Simmons, can't be left out.