Tyler Herro

Heat Notes: Herro, Paul, Robinson, Maten

Tyler Herro has been making a strong impression in Summer League, enough that Miami was reluctant to include him in trade talks for Russell Westbrook, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Herro, who signed his rookie contract earlier this week, was the 13th player taken in the draft. Known mostly as a scorer at Kentucky, Herro has displayed the potential to become a multi-dimensional talent.

A league source tells Jackson that Herro’s Summer League performance has surpassed the expectations of Heat officials, especially in 3-point shooting, passing and ball-handling. He posted a 19.5/4.3/3.8 line during the team’s stay in Las Vegas and shows signs of becoming a rotation player as a rookie.

“If we need a guy that can handle, get us into offense, if we need him to be pick-and-roll, if we need him to come off catch-and-shoots, he’s shown he can do it all, and we feel comfortable in any of those spots,” said Eric Glass, who coaches the Heat’s Summer League squad.

There’s more from Miami:

  • The Thunder’s offers in a potential Chris Paul trade haven’t been “enticing enough” to spark the Heat’s interest, Jackson tweets. Miami has been mentioned as the possible next destination for Paul, who is headed to Oklahoma City in a deal with Houston. Heat officials will continue to listen if the offers improve, Jackson adds, but they’re not actively pursuing the 34-year-old point guard.
  • Even though Miami’s Summer League season ended today with an overtime playoff loss, Duncan Robinson helped his quest to stay on the roster with a 26-point performance, Jackson notes in a separate story. The guarantee on Robinson’s salary for the upcoming season will jump from $250K to $1MM if he remains on the roster through Monday. Jackson states that it seems likely Robinson will be kept, but he hasn’t received any assurances. His full $1,416,852 salary won’t become guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 10.
  • Yante Maten and Kendrick Nunn also have non-guaranteed deals, and the Heat’s hard-capped status may work against them, Jackson adds. Miami is less than $1MM below its $138.9MM cap and can’t add any players, such as veteran free agent Udonis Haslem, without waiving someone first. Maten has a $100K guarantee that will rise to $150K if he is kept through August 1, then another $150K if he makes the opening-night roster. Nunn will also receive a $150K guarantee on August 1, rising to $450K if he’s still around for the first game.

Latest On Westbrook Trade Talks Between Heat, Thunder

The Thunder have asked the Heat for more than one of Miami’s most promising young players in their trade discussions for Russell Westbrook, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

According to Jackson, Oklahoma City is seeking the inclusion of 2019 lottery pick Tyler Herro in a Westbrook deal, but the Heat have been “very resistant” to the idea of trading away the former Kentucky sharpshooter. The 13th overall pick, who is averaging 19.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.8 APG in six Summer League games, has exceeded Miami’s expectations so far, a source tells Jackson.

After signing Herro on Wednesday, the Heat can’t include him in a trade for 30 days, but that isn’t expected to be an impediment if the two sides ultimately reach an agreement that includes him.

Jackson also hears that the Thunder have sought at least two players from the trio of Herro, Bam Adebayo, and Justise Winslow. That idea doesn’t appeal to the Heat, who are also high on Adebayo and opposed to dealing him.

As a result of the Thunder’s demands, the Westbrook trade discussions between the two teams are at a stalemate for the time being, despite the fact that Miami would love to add the star point guard, says Jackson.

While Herro’s status may not be a roadblock, there are a number of other obstacles that the two teams must overcome. The Thunder don’t want to take on additional salary, since they’d prefer to dip under the tax line rather than increase their projected bill. However, the Heat almost literally can’t take on any more salary, since they’re less than $1MM away from their $138.9MM hard cap.

Additionally, having already traded away their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks – which the Thunder now hold – the Heat don’t have first-rounders available to include in a Westbrook offer, which is why OKC is seeking multiple young players in a package instead, Jackson notes.

Miami could theoretically remove the lottery protections on the ’23 pick, which would subsequently allow the team to trade its 2025 or 2026 first-rounder as well. However, those are all fairly distant selections, and Oklahoma City may prioritize players and picks that can help the team within the next few years.

Even if the two teams could directly match salaries and the Thunder are fine with not acquiring draft picks, it’s not clear if they’ll see eye-to-eye on Westbrook’s value. Due to the $171MM owed to the former MVP over the next four years, Miami would prefer to just send out players whose contracts would help expedite a deal, many of whom likely don’t have a long-term future with the Heat, says Jackson.

On the other hand, the Thunder believe they deserve more compensation for a player with Westbrook’s track record — he won his MVP award just two years ago, rarely misses time due to injuries, and has averaged a triple-double in each of the last three seasons.

If no other serious suitors emerge for Westbrook, the Heat might “dig in further” when it comes to hanging onto their top young prospects, says Jackson.

Heat Sign Tyler Herro To Rookie Contract

The Heat have signed rookie shooting guard Tyler Herro to his rookie contract, the team announced in an official release. Herro, 19, was the No. 13 overall selection in last month’s 2019 NBA Draft.

Because Herro signed for the typical 120% of the rookie-scale (h/t to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel), he will earn $3,640,200 during his first year in the league and $17,188,836 over the life of the contract. If he ends up being a factor in a potential trade for Russell Westbrook, he can’t be traded for 30 days.

In his lone season at Kentucky, Herro started all 37 games he appeared in while averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 32.6 minutes per game. He was named SEC Newcomer of the Year for his efforts.

As NBA cap expert Albert Nahmad notes (Twitter link), the Heat now have 14 players under contract after Herro’s signing. With a combined salary of $135.8MM, they’re $987K below the hard cap, which is not enough to add another free agent.

This is because while the rookie minimum salary is only $898K, the two-year minimum salary ($1.621MM) is used in place of the salary of a non-drafted rookie when determining a team’s salary in relation to the hard cap.

Heat Notes: Hard-Cap Crunch, Dragic, Nunn

The Heat may have a logjam for their final roster spots in 2019/20, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Given that the team is hard-capped due to the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, Miami’s best bet of avoiding the $138.9MM hard cap may well be to avoid adding a 15th player.

Removing that 15th slot makes Pat Riley‘s task of rounding out a roster all that much more difficult. According to Jackson, all of Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and even Udonis Haslem could be competing for Heats’ 13th and 14th roster spots.

Riley’s no stranger to making difficult decisions but with Butler on board and a higher ceiling now within reach, the Heat may still be inclined to add external support, too. Jackson presents DeMarcus Cousins as a possibility.

Jackson notes that the Heat are still exploring trade options and it’s understandable why. Simply consolidating talent could solve both the team’s problems, freeing up a roster slot while potentially adding an impact rotation player.

There’s more from Miami today:

  • Among the consolation prizes for the Lakers if they do end up missing out on Kawhi Leonard could be Heat veteran Goran Dragic. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates that the 33-year-old could be a good, short-term fit for the squad as it builds out its roster.
  • There’s a chance that Pat Riley may have drafted differently had he known that Jimmy Butler would be on his roster by the end of the summer, but Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reminds readers that lottery pick Tyler Herro will still have plenty of value as a shooter.
  • If the Heat want to convert Kendrick Nunn‘s standard contract into a two-way deal, they’ll need to do so before August 1, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. On that day, an additional $150,000 of his contract becomes guaranteed. The collective bargaining agreement forbids teams from converting players with more than $50,000 protection over to two-way deals. Waiving Nunn would expose him to waivers and he may get claimed.

Heat Notes: Riley, Whiteside, Dragic, Haslem

Heat president Pat Riley spoke about the state of the Heat recently, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along some of the more relevant take-aways from Riley’s comments.

Despite Justice Winslow‘s success running the point while Goran Dragic was injured last season, Riley expects Dragic to be the team’s starting point guard for the 2019/20 season. Riley also expects both Dion Waiters and James Johnson to come back strong from injuries and play a significant role.

Regarding first-round pick Tyler Herro, Riley said that the 19-year-old guard “has proven in his short time at Kentucky that he’s not only a great shooter, but he’s a competitor, he’s tough, and he can defend. We’re very excited to have him.”

Riley declined to comment on the 32nd overall pick KZ Okpala, as his rights are still owned by the Pacers. He likewise declined to speak about Bol Bol, as his rights are being traded to the Nuggets.

There’s more out of Miami this afternoon from Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:

  • Cap-strapped after both Hassan Whiteside  and Dragic opted into their player options for the 2019/20 season, the Heat are in somewhat of a holding pattern until they are able to clear those two off their books in the summer of 2020. For now, Pat Riley seems keen on encouraging Heat fans to root their young team on towards a playoff berth next season (link).
  • The Heat are likely to carry 14 players on their roster during the 2019/20 season in order to avoid the luxury tax, but will Udonis Haslem be that 14th-man (link)? It’s a possibility, and Haslem has said that his family with play a primary role in his retirement decision.
  • The conundrum the Heat face with Whiteside next season is that while he may have the chance to stay healthy and rediscover his game, how does that help Miami if they’re not a championship contender (link)? Whiteside’s contract ends after the 2019/20 season, and if the Heat are serious about developing their young core, Whiteside doesn’t really have a place on the roster past this season, so letting him stuff the stat sheet on a mediocre team for one season really does the Heat no good.

Draft Rumors: Knicks, Barrett, Herro, Porter, More

Although they brought in Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland for a last-minute workout today, the Knicks remain locked in on selecting Duke forward R.J. Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

With just over 24 hours to go until the 2019 NBA draft, rumors continue to trickle in about which prospects other teams might be targeting with their first-round picks. Jeremy Woo and Jake Fischer of SI.com suggest that league sources believe the Celtics – who hold Nos. 14, 20, and 22 – have serious interest in Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro. The SI duo also reports that the Spurs – who pick at 19 and 29 – are among the teams with real interest in Croatian forward Luka Samanic.

Woo and Fischer share a few more tidbits in their latest mock draft, writing that the Hornets, Heat, and Celtics are all showing “a degree of interest” in USC’s Kevin Porter Jr., who could be in play to come off the board near the end of the lottery.

League sources also tell SI.com that the Magic have put the No. 46 pick on the trade block and could sell it, with the Lakers, Wizards, and Trail Blazers among the teams believed to have interest in purchasing a second-rounder.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), Nicolas Claxton (Georgia), and Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State) have received last-minute invites to the Green Room for Thursday’s NBA draft, reports ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links). That increases the number of prospects expected to be in attendance in the Green Room to 23, Givony notes.
  • Speaking today to reporters, including Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link), Texas center Jaxson Hayes said he only worked out for two teams, the Bulls and Hawks, during the pre-draft process. Those clubs hold three top-10 picks between them.
  • UNC guard Coby White also confirmed his pre-draft workouts today, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). White worked out for four lottery teams, including the Suns and Bulls, who are both believed to be in the market for a point guard.
  • Terry Harris, the younger brother of pending free agent Tobias Harris, is seeing his stock rise, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). The younger Harris has worked out for the Suns and Thunder, among many other teams.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Draft Updates: Green Room, Culver, Samanic, More

The NBA continues to invite potential first-round picks to the Green Room for next Thursday’s draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that Nassir Little (UNC), Romeo Langford (Indiana), and Tyler Herro (Kentucky) were the next invitees after the initial nine-player group.

According to Givony (Twitter links), Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga), Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga), PJ Washington (Kentucky) also received Green Room invites, as did international prospect Sekou Doumbouya. That brings us to 16 prospects who are expected to be in the Green Room on draft night, with four others still expected to be invited, per Givony.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Within his latest mock draft, Jeremy Woo of SI.com cites league sources who say that both the Suns and Hawks are high on Texas Tech swingman Jarrett Culver. However, it’s possible that neither team will have a shot at him without trading up — Woo has Culver coming off the board at No. 5 to the Cavaliers in his mock.
  • Croatian forward Luka Samanic has a busy workout schedule, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), who adds the Warriors and Spurs to the list of teams Samanic has auditioned for. He also has workouts lined up with the Hawks and Bucks.
  • UCF guard Aubrey Dawkins has worked out for the Celtics, Pelicans, Knicks, and Raptors, and still has the Mavericks, Rockets, and Hornets on his workout schedule, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic.
  • Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com (Twitter links) provides a pair of updates on pre-draft workouts for prospects, reporting that Chris Silva (South Carolina) is working out for the Heat and Spurs, while Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s) worked out for the Cavaliers and Mavericks and has the Sixers and Rockets on tap.

Draft Notes: Zoosman, Obiesie, Eboua, Holman, Herro

Israeli Yovel Zoosman, a 6’6” small forward, will keep his name in the draft, Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets. Zoosman plays for Maccabi Tel Aviv, which just advanced to the Israeli league playoff finals. Zoosman is ranked No. 53 on Givony’s Top 100 prospects list.

We have more draft decisions and workouts:

  • German point guard Josh Obiesie will stay in the draft, according to another Givony tweet. Givony has Obiesie ranked No. 64 overall and No. 10 among point guard prospects.
  • Forward Paul Eboua, Cameroon native, has withdrawn his name from the draft, according to Givony (Twitter link). He joins 11 other international players — Gytis Masiulis, Abdoulaye N’Doye, Digue Diawara, Aleksandr Balcerowski, Aleix Font, Zoran Paunovic, Dalibor Ilic, Louis Olinde, Jonas Matisseck, Tadas Sedekerskis and Vrenz Bleijenbergh — who have also decided to pull out of the draft. Matas Jogela, a Lithuanian forward, and William McDowell-White, an Australian guard, will remain in the draft, according to Givony (Twitter links).
  • Mississippi State forward Aric Holman worked out for the Raptors on Monday, according to Ian Begley of SNY TV (Twitter link). He visited the Knicks last week and will work out for the Kings, Lakers and Cavaliers this week, Begley adds.
  • First round prospect Tyler Herro (Kentucky) has worked out for the Spurs and will also visit the Pacers and Timberwolves, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Herro is ranked No. 18 overall and No. 4 among shooting guards by Givony.

Eastern Draft Notes: Hawks, Barrett, Knicks, Pistons

With six of the top 44 picks in the 2019 NBA draft, the Hawks have been understandably busy when it comes to bringing in prospects for pre-draft workouts. While Atlanta is unlikely to keep all six of its selections, the club is doing its due diligence on players who might be available at each spot — or as undrafted free agents.

On Sunday, the Hawks worked out Darius Bazley (Princeton HS), Robert Franks (Washington State), Matur Maker (Zlatorog Lasko), William McDowell-White (Baunach), Miye Oni (Yale), and Trayvon Reed (Texas Southern), according to the team.

The Hawks conducted another workout on Monday, bringing in Jordan Bone (Tennessee), Brian Bowen (Sydney), Dewan Hernandez (Miami), Jordan Poole (Michigan), Justin Robinson (Virginia Tech), and Dean Wade (Kansas State) in for a look.

On Tuesday, the Hawks will host yet another workout, with Charlie Brown Jr. (St. Joe’s), Zylan Cheatham (Arizona State), Keldon Johnson (Kentucky), Nassir Little (UNC), KZ Okpala (Stanford), and Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) set to participate.

Here are a few more updates on pre-draft workouts from around the Eastern Conference:

Celtics Rumors: Horford, Ainge, Kyrie, Rozier, Herro

If Al Horford opts out of his contract this month, he’s probably unlikely to top his $30MM+ player-option salary on the open market, but he should be able to top that total figure on a multiyear deal. That’s a scenario that intrigues the Celtics.

Speaking today to reporters, including Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald, C’s president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that restructuring Horford’s contract into a longer, more cap-friendly deal is a “priority” for the club this summer.

NBA rules don’t technically allow teams to restructure contracts to reduce cap hits in the same way that NFL franchises can. But if Horford turns down his player option, he and the Celtics could essentially start from scratch on a new deal — it wouldn’t be a restructuring so much as a brand new contract. If the C’s are able to negotiate a starting salary in the range of, say, $20-25MM, it would create some added cap flexibility for the coming offseason.

Here’s more on the Celtics:

  • Despite suffering a mild heart attack last month, Ainge said he’s feeling good and will continue to lead the Celtics going forward, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. “My role is not going to change,” Ainge said.
  • We passed along some of Ainge’s comments on Kyrie Irving in an earlier story, but Boston’s president of basketball operations offered a few more observations on the All-Star point guard. As Himmelsbach relays, Ainge said he had no regrets about the risk the Celtics took when they acquired Irving in 2017, and dismissed the idea that Kyrie was largely to blame for the club’s struggles in 2018/19. “We had a lot of reasons the team did not succeed this year,” Ainge said. “Kyrie deserves his share of the blame, but not any more than anybody else. There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way and didn’t make the sacrifices that needed to be done for the benefit of the team. So I think that they’re all going to learn from it, including Kyrie.”
  • Ainge praised restricted-free-agent-to-be Terry Rozier, despite the fact that Rozier has publicly griped about the role he had with the Celtics this season. “I think that if Terry was in the right circumstance and the right role, I think he would love playing in Boston,” Ainge said, per Himmelsbach.
  • Ainge also acknowledged that the Celtics will consider draft-pick trades and told reporters that Brad Stevens continues to meet with candidates to replace assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry, according to Murphy and Himmelsbach.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston tweets that the Celtics worked out Kevin Porter Jr. (USC), Luguentz Dort (Arizona State), Tyler Herro (Kentucky), Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (VA Tech), and Skyler Flatten (South Dakota State) on Tuesday. Herro made a strong impression, per Aaron Torres of FOX Sports (Twitter link).