According to an NBA source familiar with the situation, the Miami Heat are willing to extend a fully guaranteed contract for the maximum-allowable three years to free-agent power forward P.J. Tucker.
The Heat’s offer is built off the $8.4 million non-Bird salary-cap exception, which would put the team’s standing offer at $27 million over three years.
The Heat do not appear poised to put their $10.3 million mid-level exception into play with Tucker because utilizing that exception would trigger a hard cap, which could limit or even preclude trade possibilities for the team both this offseason and then at the 2023 NBA trading deadline in February.
Tucker, who had pushed for the third year to be guaranteed, is believed to be seeking the Heat’s $10.3 million mid-level exception, which would result in a package worth $33 million over the three years.
With Tucker having turned 37 in May, teams utilizing salary-cap exceptions to sign the veteran power forward are limited to three-year packages due to the NBA’s over-38 rule that limits long-term deals with older players.
Although they either would have to trade several players or have James Harden return on a smaller contract in order to create a $10.3 mid-level exception of their own, the Philadelphia 76ers, according to numerous media reports, are poised to offer Tucker such a three-year, $33 million deal.
The NBA free-agency negotiation window opens 6 p.m. Thursday.
Should the Heat lose out on Tucker, the team, according to an NBA source, is considering either a trade for former Heat power forward Jae Crowder, who is entering the final year of a contract that pays $10.2 million next season with the Phoenix Suns, or a possible free-agent move for Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren.
Those, however, only would be fallback positions if current Heat teammates are unable to convince Tucker to stay.
Tucker signed with the Heat last August on a contract that paid $7 million this past season. He is opting out of the second year of that contract, which would have paid $7.4 million next season.
Summer roster set
Having earned a Heat two-way contract based on his stellar play in summer league last year, Marcus Garrett is one of 14 players on the summer-league roster released by the team.
Returning from midseason wrist surgery, which led to his departure from the roster in January, Garrett is scheduled to appear only in the Las Vegas Summer League, where the Heat open play July 9. The Heat will play three games at the California Classic summer league in San Francisco prior to traveling to Las Vegas.
Garrett, who went undrafted out of Kansas a year ago, emerged as an elite on-ball defender with the Heat’s 2021 summer roster, showing enough also with his offense to earn his two-way deal. He eventually was replaced on the Heat roster by Kyle Guy.
The Heat had been uncertain about Garrett’s status for summer league as recently as last week. He has been working at the Heat’s practice court, including sessions on the side with Heat coaches during the playoffs.
Current Heat players Haywood Highsmith, Mychal Mulder, Javonte Smart and Ӧmer Yurtseven, as well 2022 first-round draft pick Nikola Jović, highlight the Heat summer roster.
Yurtseven, who is working with Turkey’s national team, also will only participate in the Las Vegas portion of summer league.
Heat assistant Malik Allen will serve as summer-league coach for the second consecutive year, to be assisted by Kasib Powell, who coaches the Heats G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Summer practice sessions for the Heat open Thursday in San Francisco.
Heat summer roster
Jalen Adaway, F, 6-5, 215, St. Bonaventure
Kyle Allman, Jr.,G, 6-4, 183, Paris Basketball
Jamaree Bouyea, G, 6-2, 170, San Francisco
Jamal Cain, F, 6-7, 191, Oakland
Marcus Garrett, G, 6-5, 205, Kansas.
Bryce Hamilton, G/F, 6-4, 205, UNLV
Haywood Highsmith, F, 6-7, 220, Wheeling
Nikola Jović, F, 6-11, 223, Mega Basket
Mychal Mulder, G, 6-3, 195, Kentucky
Orlando Robinson, C, 6-11, 244, Fresno State
Javonte Smart, G, 6-3, 205, Louisiana State
Aaron Wheeler, F, 6-9, 205, St. John’s
Bryson Williams, C, 6-9, 237, Texas Tech
Ӧmer Yurtseven, C, 6-11, 255, Georgetown
Note: Garett and Yurtseven only scheduled to play in Las Vegas.