P.J. Tucker was looking to run it back with the Milwaukee Bucks, but things didn’t look well as planned.
In an interview with Marc J. Spears of The Andscape, the 35-year-old forward honestly spoke about not rejoining the Bucks despite winning the 2021 title with them.
“Look at Andre Iguodala. He’s right back at Golden State. He left and was in the shade for a minute, but he is right back. I feel like every player wants that. That home where everybody loves you and you can go back and it’s love. I felt like I was building that [in Milwaukee]. And then to win it, it was like, ‘Oh, yeah, for sure.’ And they just weren’t going over the luxury tax. It just is what it is. They love you and whatever, whatever, but they weren’t going to go over it. They felt like they could replace me, and they did replace me.
“Even as a vet being around, it’s like, ‘All right, you f—— replaced me. Cool.’ You figure it out and that’s just what I had to do. And for me, it wasn’t even about money. It was more about respect because they basically told me to go find an offer and they would match it. After hearing that for me, I’m not coming back even if I had to take less money. To me, that was disrespectful. So, as soon as they said that, I told my agent Andre [Buck], basically, ‘We are moving on, whatever we get out of that, that’s what we’re doing.’”
Tucker eventually joined the Miami Heat in a two-year/$14 million contract last offseason, one of Milwaukee’s arch nemesis in the East.
Despite the bitter things that happened and failure to strike a longer partnership with the Bucks brass, the veteran still has nothing but love for the treatment that the Milwaukee faithful has given to him in his short stay with the organization.
“I love everybody. I appreciate everybody. The Bucks fans were amazing. I never expected Milwaukee to be like Milwaukee was. And that whole championship experience, there was nothing like it.”
Tucker arrived in the Cream City via last year’s midseason trade of the Bucks with the Houston Rockets. Serving as the team’s last title piece, his toughness, grit, versatility, leadership and “We Dogs” war cry fortified the Bucks in tons of adversities en route to the glorious mountaintop of the NBA.
While his departure in Milwaukee seems to really sting a bit because of the heartwarming bond he developed, it is definitely a blessing in disguise that he found a new home in South Beach. Tucker is enjoying a splash in the fountain of youth while being more involved in offensive sets, averaging the highest points (7.6 PPG) he has tallied since the 2015-2016 season (8.0) while draining a career-high 41 percent shooting from three-point land. More importantly, he serves as a crucial part on why the first-seeded Miami is a force to reckon with this season.
As the Bucks and the Heat are in the separate bracket of the East playoffs, Tucker can only hope that both of them will face for the right to advance in their second-consecutive NBA Finals.
As such, as much as this narrative is enticing, only time can tell if this will definitely take place.