Do Heat have to walk a fine line with PJ Tucker’s free agency? – The Mercury News

Q: PJ Tucker bolted the Bucks after winning a championship, so is he long term for the Heat? – Andy.

A: I’m not sure anyone who is 37 is long term for any NBA team. But PJ Tucker also didn’t bolt the Bucks. He was low-balled because of the Bucks’ salary situation, even after contributing to their 2021 title. For Tucker, it could be as simple with the Heat as coming back on a two- or three-year deal for a slight salary bump. I would think two years at about $18 million would be fair for both sides, or Tucker, even at 37, certainly could push for a third year, perhaps with some incentives for the Heat to protect their end. But if Tucker does push for the maximum of three years, $27 million the Heat can offer, then it could get tricky. Yes, the Heat would be left having to chase a replacement in free agency, but that still might be the better option than chasing potentially bad money.

Q: If only the Heat didn’t have so much money tied up in bad contracts they wouldn’t have to choose between Victor Oladipo and Caleb Martin. – Robert.

A: First, I’m not sure we’re at a point yet of “bad contract” when it comes to Kyle Lowry, based on the significant degree of regular-season success. So I assume you are pointing toward Duncan Robinson’s deal. Of that, I first would warn to see how that plays out on the trade market. In the end, that salary might prove necessary toward facilitating a deal for a productive scoring wing. There yet could be value in that contact, as abstract as the concept appears at the moment.

Q: Jake Laravia at No. 27 would make sense and he would be a good fit. If Ty Ty Washington is also available, a lighting-quick point guard the Heat sure could have used when Tyler Herro was out. A couple of overseas prospects intrigue as well, to be sure. -Brian.

A: Jake Laravia just seems to be of Heat stock when it comes to this year’s first round. I’m not sure that TyTy Washington lasts until No. 27 (if he does, then you would have to start to wonder why). And of the foreign prospects, it would be interesting to see what happens if Nikola Jovic is available when the Heat pick (while also hoping that Markieff Morris does not confuse him for Nikola Jokic).

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