All through the NBA summer of 2023, a deluge of reports and discussions showed that the Miami Heat had an interest in making a trade to send away guard Tyler Herro if it would bring back Damian Lillard, yet Heat president Pat Riley insists that is simply not true.
“I will say this, that we never offered Tyler in any trade, we’ve never shopped him to anybody,” Riley said, according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s just part of the business.”
Riley spoke to the paper on the eve of the 2023-24 season, with the Heat returning much the same roster that brought them to the NBA Finals last spring despite barely slipping into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed following a split decision in the play-in tournament.
While the Heat have been characterized as not quite desperate to make a move this summer to add another star, Riley’s insistence that the Heat never included Herro, who is entering Year 1 of a four-year, $130 million contract, in any offer takes that characterization to a new level.
Of course, Riley may be splitting hairs on the Tyler Herro trade rumors. The Heat did not directly engage the Trail Blazers in trade discussions around Lillard mostly because Portland was so put off by the insistence of Lillard and his agent, Aaron Goodwin, that Miami was the only destination they’d accept. Thus, Riley did not offer Herro to Portland GM Joe Cronin because Riley never talked with Cronin.
That does not mean the Heat would not have dealt Herro, of course, only that it was not discussed.
Pat Riley on Tyler Herro Trade Talk: ‘Badge of Honor’
Regardless, Pat Riley had a strong message to Herro about the trade chatter—he should be happy about it. It’s only when no one is talking about you that a player should worry.
“The fact that Tyler has been involved in these discussions, he almost should wear that as a badge of honor,” Riley said. “I hate to see that happen. You can’t stop it. This one was a runaway train this summer. It couldn’t be stopped. It just was. And the more you would try to speak on it in any way shape or form, then it’s what it is.
“But definitely I communicated with the agents. I didn’t talk directly to Tyler. And I saw him in training camp. He dapped me up a little bit and that was it.”
In Winderman’s article, Riley seemed to insist that his point about Herro get across. So he repeated it: We did not try to trade Tyler Herro.
“I’ll tell you again,” Riley said, “we have never shopped him to anybody. People call on him all the time, but we say, ‘Goodbye and thank you.’”
Is Trade Chatter Really Over?
The cynical among us might could well look at Pat Riley’s comments and point out that saying he has not tried to trade Tyler Herro from the Heat is exactly what you’d say if you were trying to trade him from the Heat. The first step in establishing a player’s trade value is making sure that his current team actually likes him and wants to keep him.
But Riley and the Heat do seem comfortable entering the season with Herro ready to play a No. 3 role on the team, the scoring wing behind the Bam Adebayo-Jimmy Butler inside-outside combo. And Riley is saying—publicly, at least—that he has no problem with the Heat’s failure to add a star player in the last two summers.
This is the Eastern Conference defending champ, after all.
“I like our team,” he said. “I’m not worried again, about what the narrative is, what the perspective is. I think we have a great chance.”