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Report: The controversial reason Bucks let P.J. Tucker walk to Heat

Bucks, P.J. Tucker, Heat

The Milwaukee Bucks just won the NBA title, but they also just lost a key piece in free agency with P.J. Tucker joining the rival Miami Heat on a two-year, $15 million deal. Tucker seemed to be a bit blindsided by the Bucks not making a stronger effort to bring him back in an emotional message put on social media Monday night.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the reason Milwaukee didn’t put more effort into re-signing Tucker was because of luxury tax concerns. Here are the details:

While Tucker’s salary with the Heat might seem relatively small, all things considered, consider this math: An offer that started at, say, $7 million would have cost the Bucks approximately $23 million in tax and, thus, would mean a $30 million bill. That, above all else, is why he’s not coming back to the Bucks.

That’s a really tough pill to swallow for Bucks fans. Yes, Milwaukee has an expensive roster and is in the luxury tax. But you just won a freaking NBA championship and you’re going to let a key role player go because of this? The Bucks aren’t a big-market team, but one would think they’d pay up a bit more to run it back in an attempt to repeat.

Perhaps Milwaukee still has something up its sleeve and will make an impact addition to replace Tucker, who, despite his defensive impact, is clearly on the decline at 36 years old. If the Bucks bounce back from losing Tucker with a similar player, this decision would become a little more understandable.

But, for right now, it’s a bummer. The Heat are certainly thrilled to be adding even more toughness to their roster after also adding Kyle Lowry. That’s going to be a vicious defensive team down in South Beach.