The 76ers secured their top free-agency target minutes after the negotiation period opened Thursday evening when veteran forward P.J. Tucker agreed to a three-year, $33.2 million contract.
Here are some key facts about the newest Sixer:
Tucker is a forward that, barring any additional roster shifts before the start of training camp, is projected to start for the Sixers alongside MVP contender Joel Embiid, perennial All-Star James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris.
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Although Tucker’s stats do not pop off the page, he is lauded for his contributions that impact winning.
He is a versatile defender capable of guarding virtually every position. He is one of the best in the NBA at making corner three-pointers. And he brings an intangible toughness that Embiid mentioned that the Sixers lacked at the end of last season. Though undersized at 6-foot-5, Tucker is unafraid to bang inside as a defender and rebounder.
Tucker turned 37 on May 5, making him one of the league’s oldest players.
He got a bit of a late start on his NBA career because he played most of his first six seasons overseas. Since then, he has carved out a niche as a valuable role player for the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.
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It’s worth noting that, with advancements in sports science and training philosophies, it’s not as rare to see NBA players’ careers stretch well into their 30s. Future Hall of Famer Chris Paul, who led the NBA in assists last season, was born the day after Tucker. LeBron James was born only five months before both of them.
Tucker was not even the oldest player on last season’s Heat roster. That distinction belonged to 42-year-old Udonis Haslem, the most senior player in the league.
Yes. Tucker was widely considered to be the final piece of the Bucks’ 2021 championship run after he was acquired at the trade deadline.
Before that, Tucker played four-plus seasons with Houston, where he was a teammate of Harden’s. Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey also ran the Rockets’ front office at the time. That iteration of the Rockets advanced as far as Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference finals, where they lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Last season, Tucker played for a Miami team that posted the Eastern Conference’s best regular-season record and reached the conference finals.
Last season, Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 48.4% from the floor and 41.5% from three-point range. Those numbers are in line with his NBA career stats: 7.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.
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Tucker’s best statistical season was with the Suns in 2013-14, when he averaged 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Tucker’s is $13 million.
A self-made player, Tucker did not have an annual salary over $1 million until 2013-14 with Phoenix. His contract with the Sixers will be the most lucrative — and perhaps the last — of his career.
Yes, a massive one. As of 2020, he owned more than 5,000 pairs of shoes, which is believed to be one of the biggest collections in the world. It is highlighted in this ESPN piece, among others.
For road trips, Tucker packs a sneaker bag that is normally reserved for a full team. He said he sometimes changes shoes multiple times during a game, for superstitious reasons or because they have broken.
Tucker also tracks down rare pairs, including diamond-encrusted Air Force 1s valued at $250,000 that he wore during the 2021 Finals.