The Miami Heat have yet to pull the trigger on an outside move since free agency negotiations started last week, however, they are strong contenders to possibly land Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, who officially asked for a trade on June 30, or Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
Durant’s request sent shockwaves through the league, as it was just last summer that the 12-time All-Star signed a four-year $194 million contract extension with the franchise, which was set to kick in during the 2022-23 NBA season. The Heat is one of the top “wish list” destinations for the 33-year-old power forward, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, along with the Phoenix Suns.
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Based on the limited assets the Heat would be able to offer the Nets or Jazz, nearly every proposed trade idea is centered around Tyler Herro. ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested that the Heat utilize their 2022 NBA first-round draft pick, Nikola Jovic, along with a slew of their future first-rounders to seal the deal.
Lowe tweeted, “Miami can trade 3 future first-round picks (plus Jovic) *if* they amend the lottery-protected 2025 first-round pick they owe the Thunder to remove the protections. I triple-checked this with @BobbyMarks42 and a few league execs.”
As for Mitchell, “If there was a deal to be made, it likely would come down to the degree of Utah interest in Tyler Herro,” Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman wrote. “About the best I could see from that Heat standpoint would be an offer of Herro, Duncan Robinson (to make salaries work), two first-round picks (including either picking for or dealing this year’s first-rounder) and perhaps one prospect from the Heat’s group of Max Strus or Gabe Vincent or Omer Yurtseven.”
Amid the flurry of reports, Herro sent out a cryptic tweet on Monday, July 4 that quickly went viral. “The way things going only family matters,” the 22-year-old guard wrote.
While this could be Herro merely quoting Future’s 2022 track, “The Way Things Going,” the timing of it turned some heads. “We love you man, hope we ain’t seen the last of you in a heat uniform ,” one fan replied, while another person tweeted, “utah is a great place to raise ur family.” Another man tweeted, “Gonna keep rooting for you in Brooklyn bro.”
Herro Is Up for Massive Contract Extension This Year
NBA’s 2022 Sixth Man of the Year Award winner put up incredible performances during the regular season, averaging 20.7 points per game while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. However, Herro struggled through the playoffs, averaging just 12.6 points per game while drilling 22.9% on threes.
Unfortunately, the Kentucky alum missed three games during the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics due to a groin injury. He attempted to come back in Game 7, playing just seven minutes, recording zero points, one assist, and one block.
Herro, who remains one of the promising up can comers in the league, enters the 2022-23 season on the final year of his rookie contract, during which he’ll earn a $5.7 million salary. However, the young guard is eligible for a contract extension “worth as much as $181 million over five seasons, with a first-year salary (2023-24) of $31 million,” per Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang.
While Herro’s camp will likely ask for the max, it’s highly unlikely he receives the full amount. Based on the current market, NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin wrote that $25 million a season “seems about right.” The Heat have until mid-October to agree on an extension deal for Herro, and if no agreement is made, he’ll become a restricted free agent once the 2022-23 NBA season comes to a close.
Pat Riley Wouldn’t Commit to Herro Becoming a Starter Next Season
While Herro boldly announced during his final press conference of the season, “I would like to start. I think it’s my fourth year, so hopefully I’ve earned it and we’ll see what happens” — Heat president Pat Riley wasn’t as confident.
Riley said of Herro during his annual end-of-year presser, “I don’t think he’s really here yet as a full-time complete player… The next step for him, and I think we’re seeing this in the league, if you want to win a championship, you want to be a starter, you really have to become a two-way player today.”
“As far as being a starter, come to training camp and win it. Sometimes it’s that easy. If he wants to be a starter, we’ll see in October. That’s something that you earn. There’s no doubt he has the qualities to be that.”