P.J. Tucker would be perfect free agent addition for the Chicago Bulls

DeMar DeRozan, O.J. Tucker, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
DeMar DeRozan, O.J. Tucker, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Very rarely does a golden opportunity spontaneously appear to drastically improve your biggest weaknesses as a team in the NBA. And yet, that’s exactly what happened for the Chicago Bulls when P.J. Tucker opted out of his player option for the 2022-23 season with the Miami Heat.

Owed $7.4 million next season, P.J. surprised many by declining his player option and choosing to hit the open market instead. For a 37-year-old veteran, this was a decision you won’t see very often, but it also conveys Tucker’s belief in himself to secure one last multi-year deal.

Tucker has made a name for himself around the league in recent years by helping elevate very good teams to become great teams. P.J. was crucial to the Milwaukee Bucks during their 2021 championship run as a small-ball center, and later conveyed the same level of impact to a Miami Heat squad that fell just short of a trip to the NBA Finals in 2022.

Matt Moore of The Action Network discussed the Bulls as a team that is reportedly showing interest in Tucker on the Locked On NBA podcast.

P.J. Tucker could address the Chicago Bulls’ biggest needs in free agency and help this team make a big playoff push.

This makes a lot of natural sense for the Bulls, who were repeatedly punished by their lack of interior defense and 3-point shooting off the bench. Those are the two areas where Tucker makes the biggest impact and his presence would go a long way toward plugging these holes.

Picking up Tucker would be an especially poignant move when you consider the fact that the Bulls have shown interest in drafting a guy like E.J. Liddell specifically because he plays very similarly to Tucker. Chicago could save their draft pick for a prospect with a higher ceiling and just sign the real thing instead.

Already having established chemistry with star forward DeMar DeRozan due to their time spent together in Toronto, Tucker should be able to seamlessly integrate into this Bulls’ locker room. The two would only spend one season together back in 2017, but they still managed to knock off Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks before falling short to LeBron James’ defending champion Cavaliers.

Considering the Bulls haven’t won a playoff series since 2015, advancing past just the first round would be a step forward for the franchise. But with a defined role and open spot in the roster just waiting for him, Tucker could potentially help the Bulls advance even further.

He alone can’t carry the Chicago Bulls back to the promised land, but these are the type of savvy moves and experienced veterans that separate the contenders from the pretenders. I’m not sure he’s ready to leave the sunny beaches of Miami just yet, but Tucker would be a more than welcome addition to the Windy City.

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