REPORT: P.J. Tucker to Opt-Out of Player Option and Hit Free Agency

P.J. Tucker will decline his $7.4 million player option with the Miami Heat and enter unrestricted free agency, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Per Tim Reynolds, Tucker’s decision was expected, but it’s “like Heat will fight to keep him.” Tucker also let it be known within the locker room that he would like to return to Miami.

Tucker is coming off a solid season, which saw the 37-year-old shoot 41.5 percent from behind the arc and average 5.5 rebounds per game. One of the game’s most coveted role players, Tucker was a crucial cog in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 NBA title run and most recently helped Miami reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

A rugged defender who contributes on both ends of the court, Tucker played overseas for five years after a 17-game rookie season with Toronto in 2006. He returned to the NBA in 2012 and became a valued presence on multiple playoff teams. Tucker averaged 7.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game last season with the Heat.

If Tucker picked up his option with Miami, he would have received a $350,000 pay increase for next season. Instead, the veteran entering his 14th NBA season will test the free-agent market and likely look to join another contender.