As first reported by Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Suns will re-sign Tucker, a restricted free agent, to a three-year, $16.5 million deal:
Suns will re-sign forward PJ Tucker to a three-year, $16.5 million deal, a source told Yahoo.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 10, 2014
According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, Tucker’s deal is front-loaded, meaning he is only owed $3.8 million in the third year of the contract and it’s non-guaranteed. Tucker averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 38.7 percent from three-point range. He has become known for his gritty hustle, never-back-down attitude, tough defense and knack for knocking down corner threes (nearly 41 percent last season).
This is a happy day for Suns fans, but with all the buzz surrounding LeBron James and a potential return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, this deal signifies Phoenix may no longer have high hopes of landing the superstar long shot. As Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports originally reported, the Suns, Cavs and Miami Heat were the three finalists in the LeBron Sweepstakes for his agent Rich Paul.
Now that Tucker will re-sign with the Suns, $16.5 million over three years (even with the last year not guaranteed) is a significant amount to pay for a backup small forward. Most Suns fans had likely already given up on the LeBron James-Carmelo Anthony dream scenario, but bringing back Tucker at this price might signify Phoenix is pulling out of the running.
BAD MOTHER TUCKER GOT PAID. pic.twitter.com/S0NJhfd1h0
— Sreekar (@sreekyshooter) July 10, 2014
The Suns could still be able to sign either LeBron or Melo if they were somehow suddenly interested in signing with Phoenix, but since Woj’s report there hasn’t been much buzz on that front.
At age 29, Tucker pretty much is what he is: a tough 3-and-D guy who can fire up the crowd on some nights and is a runaway train on the fast break every night (and not in a good way). His character and the part he plays in Phoenix’s team chemistry is exemplary, however, and no one who’s ever watched him play can question his heart or his love for the game.