Miami Heat could target Mo Bamba as PJ Tucker replacement

Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat


Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have come under fire over the past few weeks as word spread that veteran forward PJ Tucker would be a target for the Philadelphia 76ers in NBA free agency and would welcome a reunion with star guard James Harden and general manager Daryl Morey. Needing another big guy, Heat could go hunting in their own state and get Orlando Magic striker/center Mo Bamba.

Orlando Sentinel writer Khobi Price has reported that Magic is not expected to bid Bamba a qualifying offer, a move that could make him an unrestricted free agent, with Heat is a potential landing spot.

Bamba was the #6 pick in the 2018 draft, picked just behind the star trio of Luke Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young. He struggled to find his footing in the NBA during his first three seasons, but had a breakthrough last year, when he averaged 10.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, real currently 38.1% of 3-pointers and blocked 1.7 shots.

All in Mo Bamba?

The tough question for the Heat is whether to throw all midfield exceptions at Bamba, who will be making offers from several teams. By avoiding luxury taxes for the past two years, Miami ensures that it gets to use its full $10.4 million MLE, as well as a biennial $4.1 million exception. .

The two cannot be combined. But a deal starting at $10.4 million with a championship-caliber team could be enough to lure Bamba to South Beach. The Heat have other holes in the roster that need to be filled, and that will be a concern – the entire midfield is an important commitment for Bamba.

He could be a gamble worth taking.

They’d rather have some younger guys with them who are from the (Tyler) Herro-Bam timeline rather than Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, who are in their 30s,” an Eastern Conference general manager said. with . “And this is a kid that Magic needs to move, where you can get him on the right track. He didn’t know how he would fit into the NBA before this season, but he figured it out this year. This is a good time to join him, he will be the ideal person for them. “

Tucker is a ‘core’ piece: Riley

Bamba is also being targeted by the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls, among other teams, and he could still return to the Magic. Another big man to play with, and behind, Bam Adebayo is a priority for the Heat should they lose Tucker, who Miami thinks will return next season. Tucker opted out of the second year of his contract and is now an unrestricted freelance agent.

Last month, during his post-season press conference, team president Pat Riley told reporters he considers Tucker (who averaged 7.6 points and 5.5 rebounds last year) to be a “core” part. by Heat.

“PJ is like a platform,” says Riley. “He was like, when (Udonis Haslem) was in his prime, even though UD wasn’t the main scorer, he did important things throughout a game. … That’s what Tuck does. Tuck is the type of player that doesn’t have to do much from a scoring standpoint but he’s made a lot of great games for you. He’s like the foundation for us. Strong, resilient, defensive, a no-nonsense guy, and so I’d love to have Tuck back next year. He is a core part of us.”

But that core will, at the very least, need to be replaced. Miami Heat could target Mo Bamba as PJ Tucker replacement

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