It’s no secret the Miami Heat will look significantly different next year, as only five players are contractually guaranteed to return, but without any draft picks, the front office will need to work their magic in free agency.
With All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo virtually untouchable, the Heat only have three players to possibly use as trade pieces: KZ Okpala, Precious Achiuwa, and Tyler Herro.
Despite Heat president Pat Riley referring to Herro as a “core player” of the team during his postseason press conference, according to Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes, the “most likely player to get traded this summer” is Herro.
The latest Heat news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Heat newsletter here!
While Herro being mentioned in trade reports is nothing new for the Kentucky alum, his name bounced around in numerous reports prior to the March 25 trade deadline, the renewed fervor in the media surrounding his future in the NBA has again reached a fever pitch.
While making an appearance at the Jr. Heat Summer Camp at the FTX Arena on July 21, Herro spoke to Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang about the ongoing trade reports and rumors.
Herro said, “I’m done listening to all that, honestly,” Chiang tweeted. “I think every time that we’re not playing or even if we are playing, my name is brought up in something. So it is what it is at this point. I’m focused on getting better, getting this team better.”
Herro Remains the Heat’s Best Trade Piece to Obtain a Third Big Name
The reason Herro has emerged as the Heat’s best trade piece over Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala is not because of the 6-foot-5 guard’s performance this past season, but because of what the 21-year-old put on display during his rookie year.
“The other two have shown flashes in their brief careers, but Herro is the one with the 2020 Finals breakout on his resume and name recognition to anchor a high-profile trade,” Hughes wrote. “And if we know anything about the ambitious Heat, it’s that they tend to favor trades of that ilk. The concerns about Herro’s off-court habits could factor into the Heat’s willingness to deal as well.”
Those “off-court habits” Hughes mentions are a reference to how despite Herro’s sophomore slump, his celebrity status has continued to rise. On April 19, Five Reasons Sports Network’s Ethan Skolnick and South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman reported that his undue star status has become a major concern for the Heat on their Inside the Paint podcast.
Herro’s marketability, however, could be absolutely clutch for a struggling team needing a media boost. Hughes wrote, “Other franchises will talk themselves into Herro’s game and personality. Teams that aren’t winning could use his floor-raising offense and box-office marketability. Moxie sells, and Herro has plenty of that.”
The Heat Don’t Have an Eligible Draft Pick to Trade Until 2024
The Heat’s biggest problem when it comes to making trades is that they don’t have draft picks. Miami doesn’t have any first-round or second-round picks in this year’s draft, and according to Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, they currently have only one pick that’s eligible to be traded in the next seven drafts: a 2024 second-rounder.
Therefore, unless the Heat is willing to give up a promising up-and-comer like Herro, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make a worthwhile trade. Herro’s name is mentioned in nearly every conceivable trade scenario not because the Heat can’t wait to get rid of him, but due to a lack of other options.
If the Heat want to make another serious run to the NBA Finals while Butler, 31, is still in his prime, they can’t sit around and wait for Herro to reach his full potential. Instead, they can trade the Boy Wonder while his ceiling remains high.