If the Heat decline to offer him an extension, he’d remain a trade chip until the deadline.
The Utah Jazz traded Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers more than a week ago. And despite a tweet from Tyler Herro — seemingly in response to some Miami Heat fans blasting him for his sub-par playoff performance — we still haven’t heard that the Heat have signed Herro to an extension.
As I’ve discussed before, signing Herro to an extension before the mid-October deadline would essentially make him untradeable for a year. A Herro extension would take the Heat out of blockbuster trade talks between now and the February trade deadline.
Miami also faced this issue with Bam Adebayo after his breakthrough 2019-20 season that saw him finish second in Most Improved Player voting. Some wanted the Heat to hold off on an Adebayo extension to keep cap flexibility for the 2021 off-season and sign Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the Heat signed Adebayo to his max contract after his third season, and Antetokounmpo stayed with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Now Herro has completed his third season. He won Sixth Man of the Year, but wasn’t an All-Star as Adebayo was. Will the Heat hold off on that extension to keep Herro as a trade piece? He would become a restricted free agent in 2023 if that happens.
Doing so would undoubtedly cast a cloud over his season, however. Just before the 2021 trade deadline — when his name came up in rumors — Herro shot poorly and then rebounded after the deadline passed. Herro may feel justifiably upset that the Heat hadn’t given him another contract when they signed Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson to extensions.
The Heat are in win-now mode. Without any free agency additions or trades over the summer, the best hope for another season contending at the top of the Eastern Conference is improvement from Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo. The Heat can keep the door open for big trades if they decline to offer Herro an extension before the season. But are the Heat ready to take that gamble?