Heat’s Udonis Haslem Doing Tyler Herro ‘Mental’ Checks Amid Trade Talk

Tyler Herro (left) and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat.

Getty Tyler Herro (left) and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat.

If it seems like ages that we’ve been waiting for some resolution to the Damian LillardMiami HeatPortland Trail Blazers trade saga, then it’s pretty much because in NBA offseason measurements, we have been waiting ages. But if you’re impatient with it all, imagine how it must feel for Tyler Herro.

Herro is just about guaranteed to be on the move in any potential Heat trade involving Lillard this summer. In fact, a deal might well be done by now if the Blazers had any interest in Herro at all, but that is apparently not the case. So the Heat and Blazers have tried to find a third team to take on Herro, and he can do little but kick back and await his fate.

Herro is fortunate that, in dealing with what is an obviously trying time, he has a veteran Heat mentor—now-retired big man Udonis Haslem—to nudge him through the process.

“Obviously, I have a relationship with Tyler so I keep in touch with him, I talk to him and I check on his mental,” Haslem said at Bam Adebayo’s youth clinic in Miami on Saturday, with video from Miami radio personality Brendan Tobin.

Haslem to Herro: ‘Focus on Time Spent’

Haslem did speak about Herro almost in the past tense, as though he fully expects that Herro has played his last game with the Heat. The No. 13 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Herro has averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his four-year Heat career. He signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension last summer, after he was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year.

The lack of teams clamoring to trade for Herro has seemed to come as a surprise in Miami, though not around the rest of the league. Herro, after all, suffered an injury (a broken bone in his hand) in the playoff opener for the Heat, and Miami proceeded to play better without him, making a run all the way to the NBA Finals.

Still, Haslem said, Herro has a lot to reflect on positively in Miami.

“I think one thing I told Tyler and the one thing we focus on is the time spent,” Haslem said. “The time spent here is amazing. So whatever happens, he can walk away with his head up. Sixth Man of the Year, two Finals, three Eastern Conference finals, you know his four or five years here have been equivalent of some people’s whole careers. He has nothing to be ashamed about. He handled his business and if that happens and the trade goes through, he goes somewhere else and continues to build.”

Adebayo Remains Close Friends With Lillard

Adebayo himself has been part of the Lillard speculation, too, though not because he could be traded in any deal—rather it is the presence of Adebayo in Miami that has made Lillard focused on forcing a trade to the Heat. The two became close when they were playing together for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“Right now, you just, the biggest thing, I’m not worried about that,” Adebayo said. “Me and Dame do have a connection, we do have a type of brotherhood. But it’s business. Both sides want it to make sense. We’re not a part of that. Well, I’m not a part of that. Only thing I can do is spread my influence and me and Dame continue to be friends.”

Adebayo said that he and Lillard had not spent time hatching any kind of plot during the Olympics that would have them team up later on. But it did occur to him even then that it was possible.

“You don’t really have the banter because at the end of the day, we were there for business, which was winning the gold,” Adebayo said. “So you do have those type of imaginations, but at the end of the day we understand, it is business. It has to make sense. You can’t always have your way. But the biggest thing for us is, it could potentially happen.”

As for Haslem, don’t expect any special insight into the process from him, despite 20 years playing for the team.

“I am just sitting around watching like everybody else,” he said.


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