The Miami Heat continue to be mentioned as a potential landing spot for Kevin Durant, who remains in Brooklyn despite having made a trade request at the opening of free agency. However, business could be picking up as league sources told Heavy.com‘s Steve Bulpett that KD will meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai “sometime this week.”
Regardless of what the fallout of such a meeting might be, though, Durant’s potential path to South Beach will still be one laden with obstacles.
Despite the Heat’s lauded status as a destination of choice for just about every star player looking for greener grass, team president Pat Riley currently finds himself at a deficit in the tradeable assets department. Miami has precious few picks in its offers, and the best chip the club has — star big man Bam Adebayo — is seemingly off the table.
Nevertheless, one hoops pundit believes that Riley has at least one ace up his sleeve where coaxing the Nets into a trade is concerned.
B/R: Herro Moves the Needle
Bleacher Report‘s Andy Bailey just dropped his ranking of the players who can be considered “realistic” centerpieces for potential Durant trades. It was a list that included Heat sharpshooter and reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro.
At No. 6, Herro came in one spot higher than Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins in Bailey’s rankings, even as the former No. 1 overall pick is fresh off of his first All-Star appearances and a terrific championship run with the Dubs.
As Bailey sees it, the Heat sharpshooter’s upside would likely be more tantalizing for the Nets in a trade (albeit with a catch):
Because of what Wiggins provides defensively, Tyler Herro may not be as good right now. But Herro’s not far off, and he’s five years younger…
If Brooklyn’s coaching staff can get him to average-level defense — which may be a tall task, considering Erik Spoelstra’s yet to pull it off — Herro has a chance to be better than Wiggins has ever been.
A deal with Herro as the centerpiece makes more sense from the Nets’ team-building perspective too. There were players drafted this summer who are older than Herro. Having him, multiple picks and salary filler isn’t a terrible place to start with a reboot.
That “if” wedged in the middle there is a big one, however.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
The Defensive Struggle Is Real
No one would quibble with the notion that Herro is one of the most gifted scorers in the Association. Last season, the 22-year-old averaged a career-high 20.7 points per game while connecting on nearly 40% of his triples and 69% on attempts within three feet of the tin.
On the defensive side, though, Herro was hunted by opposing offenses looking for the path of least resistance. This was particularly true during postseason play, where the Heat were 15.8 points/100 possessions worse defensively when he was on the court.
Herro’s D-rating of 114.8 during the playoffs actually ranked dead last on the team. Meanwhile, opposing players’ field goal percentages jumped by an average of 6.4% on two-point attempts when Herro was the closest defender.