Tyler Herro was the subject of ridicule from opposing players and Miami Heat fans during the 2021 campaign. Some felt the 21-year-old was a mirage who took advantage of lessened expectations inside the Orlando bubble. There was a report that the organization had even grown concerned about his “celebrity” status.
Herro averaged 15.1 points and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 36% from three-point range. Those numbers shrank considerably in the playoffs where he was virtually non-existent. He scored a series-high 14 points in Game 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks after going 6-of-19 from three. Miami was dusted in four games. Twitter was quick to remind everyone that the franchise decided to retain Herro over completing a blockbuster trade for James Harden. Which is a half-truth.
The Houston Rockets reportedly wanted Herro, plus two first-rounders and Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn for Harden. No one was doing that deal, especially not Pat Riley. On Thursday, the Heat president addressed what went wrong this season and how he truly feels about Herro. The future is bright for the kid from Wisconsin, by way of Kentucky.
“He’s a core player. That’s all there is to it,” Riley told reporters. “When we got swept by Milwaukee, that was an absolute team breakdown. It wasn’t any one individual. When you get blown out like that and you get beaten by a great team, it isn’t any one individual. Tyler Herro is a core player for us.”
Remember, Herro was forced into a bench role early in the year by head coach Erik Spoelstra and fully embraced it. He also missed 18 games as he battled injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Let’s chalk up 2021 as a blip on the radar.
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Riley Preaches Rest, Relaxation First
There will be plenty of time for crucial contract decisions (see: Jimmy Butler, Victor Oladipo) and blockbuster free-agent signings (see: Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard). For now, Riley encouraged everyone — players, coaches, staff, himself — to take a vacation and clear their heads. It was a long year in South Beach where they weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and made a 2020 championship run. Yes, the Heat are expected to make a major splash this offseason but only after a much-needed rest.
“Our players, our staff, the people that have been here every day, every single day, they’re mentally worn out more so than physically. And I think they just need to rest for a couple of weeks, a month,” Riley said, via The Associated Press. “Have a good summer. There’ll be a lot of news coming along the way, but again, just a last shoutout to our fans and to everybody is that we’ll be back.”
Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo News
The speculation has been running rampant on Jimmy Butler getting a four-year max extension worth $181 million. It was thought to be high on Riley’s offseason priority list and the team’s top executive didn’t deny it on Thursday. Riley also revealed that Bam Adebayo could have waited to cash in on his $163 million max-scale extension last November, but the one-time All-Star pressed the issue. That move cost the Heat upwards of $13 million in additional cap space. No hard feelings remain between the two sides, though.
“He did what was in his best interest, and we simply said, ‘yes,’ ” Riley said, via Barry Jackson. “We tried to convince them that this could be different, but at the end of the day this is what the man deserved.”
Meanwhile, Butler’s future seems secure.
“You know, players like Jimmy, that are a high level, very impactful players for you, that you’re going to have to pay them what their market value is,” Riley said.