In spite of injuries to key players and a veritable bonanza of ballers entering health and safety protocols, the Miami Heat are in a great spot at the NBA‘s mid-season point. As of this writing, the team has won nine of its last 12 games and is currently just one game behind the No. 1 Bulls in the Eastern Conference.
Although a number of players have stepped up throughout the campaign, none have made the kind of jump that Tyler Herro has.
Herro’s late-season, sophomore slump in 2020-21 once left some to wonder whether they had overestimated the 21-year-old’s potential. During a 10-game stretch in March, he made just 32% of his field-goal attempts and 21.6% of his shots from long range.
Now, he’s the clear frontrunner for Sixth Man of the Year honors, averaging 20.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest while knocking down 38.8% of his triples.
He has been so good, in fact, that some have wondered whether he might command a max-level extension from the Heat. Others, though, are less convinced about his financial prospects.
Insider: Herro Not a Max Guy?
As relates to Herro’s breakout effort this season and its impact on his looming contract extension, the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson assessed the following ideas as being true:
1. The Heat wasn’t delusional when a team official told Dan Le Batard that the organization viewed Herro as having an upside higher than Phoenix Suns two-time All Star guard Devin Booker’s.
2. Herro is going to get paid big this offseason, a contract that likely will send Miami well past the luxury tax line in two years.
While there’s no fault to be found with that analysis, ESPN’s front-office guru Bobby Marks doesn’t believe that Herro will be getting all that he possibly can from the cash-strapped Heat, even as the team can exceed the cap to keep him.
“I don’t think he’s getting that [a max deal] from Miami next offseason,” Marks told the Herald, via text message.
Instead, he appraised Herro’s extension prospects as follows:
“Shooting is certainly a premium right now,” Marks said. “Average shooters are getting $17-$18 million right now. I think he’s north of $20 million. Different player but likely in that Mikal Bridges-type territory — four years, $90 million. Might be a little more.”
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Herro’s Big-Money Potential
As it stands, there’s no telling what the Heat will offer Herro to stay in Miami long-term. However, he’ll be eligible for the designated rookie extension, which would net him a max-level salary worth at least 25% of the cap in the first year of the deal.
That would mean a starting salary of more than $31 million for Herro. And annual raises would push the deal to around $181 million over five years beyond his current contract. It’s a figure that may have seemed unthinkable six months ago. Now, though, it’s at least within the realm of possibility.
Looking ahead, if Herro does indeed get the full max extension, the Heat would find themselves doling out more than $156 million to just five players in 2023-24 — Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson and Herro.