Tyler Herro

Heat Exercise 2021/22 Team Option On Tyler Herro

The Heat have officially exercised their 2021/22 team option on Tyler Herro, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

The move locks in the third-year option on Herro’s rookie contract, ensuring that he’ll earn $4MM a year from now. He’s set to earn $3.82MM in 2020/21. Miami will have to make a decision on his $5.72MM fourth-year option for ’22/23 next fall.

Rookie scale team option decisions for ’21/22 are due by December 29. Not every former first-round pick will have his third- or fourth-year option exercised this month, but in cases like Herro’s, picking up that option is a mere formality.

Herro, who will turn 21 in January, earned a spot on the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team last season, averaging 13.5 PPG on .428/.389/.870 shooting in 55 games (27.4 MPG). He elevated his game to a new level in the postseason, recording 16.0 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 33.6 minutes per contest as the Heat came within two wins of a title.

Southeast Notes: Riley, Hawks, Fox, Magic

Heat president Pat Riley was pleased with the development of several young players this season, telling reporters at his end-of-season press conference that he was especially impressed with the improvements of Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro.

“When we drafted Bam, we didn’t think Bam would be an All-Star this quick,” Riley said, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “We saw a great athlete. We didn’t even know how great a person he was. When we found out the level of his character and his loyalty and being a teammate, that with his talent, we knew we had something special.”

Adebayo averaged 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in the playoffs, with the 23-year-old showing noticeable improvements on both ends of the floor this season. As for Herro, a fearless 20-year-old who just finished his rookie season, Riley had much of the same praise for his campaign.

“[He] grew through listening and he grew through the mentorship of Udonis Haslem, Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic,” Riley said. “All of those guys and the ones that came at midseason — Andre [Iguodala] and Solomon [Hill] and Kelly [Olynyk] and Meyers [Leonard] — all of these veterans took him under their wing because they saw something special there

“He got better not just as a shooter, but as a shotmaker. He got better in handling the ball. I used to see him out here on the court with our coaches that were developing him putting him through a myriad of ball-handling drills against pressure, banging him with the heavy bag, making him go to the basket and knocking him down and making sure he concentrated on finishing.

“He’s a very, very efficient offensive player. He got better as a playmaker. His vision — he started to see other plays because he could take it to the rack. He’s a great kid. He works hard and we have somebody very special in him.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference today:

Heat Notes: Riley, Untouchables, Herro, Nnaji

In speaking to reporters last Friday about the Heat‘s NBA Finals loss to the Lakers, team president Pat Riley said “there’s always going to be an asterisk, that caveat” from the Heat’s perspective due to the fact that neither Bam Adebayo nor Goran Dragic was fully healthy for the series. However, Riley made it clear in his follow-up comments on Sunday that he wasn’t saying that an “asterisk” should be placed next to Lakers’ championship itself.

The asterisk is next to the Heat’s name, not the Lakers,” Riley said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). “Their title is legitimate. Our loss has an asterisk (next) to it. The Lakers were the better team. Period.”

While Riley’s initial wording left some room for interpretation, reading it as a dig aimed at the Lakers would’ve meant ignoring the surrounding context, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who noted that when Riley wants to make a point, he’s rarely subtle about it.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In a separate article for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman considered which Heat players could be had in hypothetical trades and which would be off the table, identifying the team’s “untouchables” as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and – for entirely different reasons – Udonis Haslem.
  • After a surprise run to the NBA Finals, the Heat will have to decide how aggressive they want to be with their current roster, writes Zach Harper of The Athletic. Within the story, Harper says league sources believe that if the Heat were to explore a trade for Victor Oladipo, they wouldn’t consider including Tyler Herro in any offer.
  • Former Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji worked out for the Heat on Sunday, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). The reigning Pac-12 Rookie of the Year, Nnaji is the No. 35 prospect on ESPN’s big board but could be an option for Miami at No. 20 in next month’s draft.

And-Ones: Herro, Season Start, Coaching Carousel, Superstars

Heat guard Tyler Herro leads a group of nine players who raised their stock during the 2019/20 restart in Orlando, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines.

Herro, 20, averaged 16 points per game during the playoffs, shooting 43% from the field and 38% from downtown in 21 contests. He came off the bench in 16 of those outings, averaging 33.6 minutes per game.

In addition to Herro, Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Nuggets wing Michael Porter Jr. and Clippers center Ivica Zubac also emerged during the restart, proving their worth in the postseason. While it’s still unclear when the 2020/21 season will begin, all of these players have unquestionably increased their stock entering next year.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world today:

  • A panel of ESPN writers debated the pros and cons of starting next season before or on Christmas Day. The NBA is examining a number of different options for next season, including starting it earlier than originally anticipated. The players’ union would ultimately have to agree to the league’s proposal to finalize details for the campaign.
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated assesses the NBA coaching carousel of 2020, with several teams replacing their coaches throughout the offseason. Among the new head coaches for the 2020/21 season are Stan Van Gundy (Pelicans), Nate Bjorkgren (Pacers) and Tom Thibodeau (Knicks).
  • Seth Partnow of The Athletic rates the league’s best players this year, with LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Kawhi Leonard and James Harden leading the way in the first tier. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, both of whom nursed injuries during the 2019/20 season (Curry played just five games), are located in the next tier.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Nets, Knicks, Raptors

If the Celtics are unable to come back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, they may not be able to help looking back on a pair of 50-50 outcomes from past drafts that didn’t go in their favor.

As Sam Amick of The Athletic details, the first of those draft-day coin flips came in 2011, when the Celtics owned the 27th overall pick and had narrowed down their choice to JaJuan Johnson or Jimmy Butler. Boston selected Johnson, allowing Butler to fall to Chicago at No. 30. Today, Johnson is eight years removed from playing in his last NBA game, while Butler is on the verge of eliminating the C’s from the postseason (albeit after changing teams three times).

Meanwhile, Game 4 star Tyler Herro, who established a new career high on Wednesday with 37 points, was selected by the Heat in the 2019 draft at No. 13, one pick ahead of the Celtics at No. 14. Those draft slots were as a result of a three-team tiebreaker for the Nos. 12-14 selections, after Charlotte, Miami, and Sacramento all finished the season with identical records. The Hornets won the tiebreaker and claimed the No. 12 pick, while the Heat got No. 13. The C’s, who owned the Kings’ pick, ended up at No. 14.

As A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, there was a “collective moan” among the Celtics’ brass after the Heat selected Herro at No. 13 a year ago, since the C’s had their eye on the Kentucky sharpshooter. They would have had a shot to draft him if they’d had better luck in that draft tiebreaker.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post questions whether the Nets really need to make a trade for a third star, suggesting that the missing piece for the roster may instead be a tough wing defender who could be signed using the mid-level exception. Lewis points to veteran forward Andre Roberson as one possibility, assuming he’s fully healthy.
  • David Nurse, a life/skills coach for a number of NBA players, believes that the Knicks will benefit from new assistant coach Johnnie Bryant‘s player development abilities, as Ian Begley of SNY.tv relays. “He focuses on the details and the specifics for each player,” Nurse said on Begley’s podcast, The Putback. “Player development gets thrown out there as a buzzword, like culture. No one really knows what it means. Most (people think of it as) being just rebounding for players, shooting spot shots. But that’s not player development. Johnnie realizes it’s about the details with helping these players that he works with, focusing on their strengths.”
  • Blake Murphy and Eric Koreen of The Athletic explore a few Raptors offseason topics, including how much the team’s initial offer to free agent guard Fred VanVleet should be worth, while Doug Smith of The Toronto Star says that president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster will earn their money during this offseason of uncertainty.

Heat Notes: Roster, Haslem, ECF

Zach Lowe of ESPN tracks the Heat‘s impressive front office maneuvering that took them from the lottery in 2015 back to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020, despite having traded away a number of their draft picks during that time. Lowe applauds the team’s savvy drafting of All-Star Bam Adebayo and potential future All-Star shooting specialist Tyler Herro in the 2017 and 2019 drafts, respectively.

“The doubt was whether [Adebayo] could really do much on offense,” said Heat senior adviser of basketball operations Chet Kammerer. “I just felt like, with his love for the game and his work ethic, he’s going to be OK in that area.”

The Heat also hit on three undrafted free agent role players in point guard Kendrick Nunn this season, shooting guard Duncan Robinson last year, and forward Derrick Jones Jr. in 2017 after a brief stint with the Suns. Miami was apparently one of two contenders for Dorian Finney-Smith after the 2016 draft, but lost out to the Mavericks.

Of course, All-Star Jimmy Butler was the key addition this offseason. During the 2016/17 “Three Alphas” Bulls season – when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Butler and Rajon Rondo in Chicago – Wade and Butler discussed just how special the much-ballyhooed “Heat culture” really was. That conversation apparently set the stage for Butler prioritizing the Heat above all other suitors in free agency during the summer of 2019, despite Miami lacking any room to sign a maximum-salaried free agent. Miami made a four-team sign-and-trade for the team’s now-top star.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s playoff-ready roster, comprised by acquiring key under-regarded prospects and never fully bottoming out, is also examined by HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina in another quality piece.
  • 17-season Heat lifer Udonis Haslem, a crucial role player for each of Miami’s three titles, remains noncommittal on whether or not 2019/20 will prove to be his final season as a player, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “There is a value and a need for me here,” Haslem said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that everybody thinks it should be. If I have to put on a suit and stand on the sideline, just because everybody else thinks I should. I found value in this locker room, and I’ve been able to move the needle and help us win games, and that’s what it’s all about.”
  • Ahead of the first game of the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics, we asked you who you expected to advance to the NBA Finals from Eastern Conference. As of this writing, the third-seeded Celtics have received 54% of over 1,300 votes.

Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn Headline All-Rookie Team

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who previously won the Rookie of the Year award, was the only player unanimously selected to this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the league announced in a press release.  A panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters selected the team.

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn collected the second-most First Team votes (98) and total points (197). Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, Pelicans forward and top overall draft pick Zion Williamson, and Warriors forward Eric Paschall rounded out the First Team.

Morant and Clarke became the first Grizzlies duo named to the All-Rookie First Team since the 2001/02 season, when Pau Gasol and Shane Battier earned the honor. Nunn is the first Heat player named to the First Team since Michael Beasley in 2008/09.

Heat guard Tyler Herro, Raptors guard Terence Davis II, Bulls guard Coby White, Hornets forward P.J. Washington, and Wizards forward Rui Hachimura gained All-Rookie Second Team honors.

Knicks wing and third overall pick RJ Barrett finished 13 points behind Hachimura for the final spot on the Second Team, with Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle narrowly missing a spot as well.

The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played prior to the restart.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Out For Game 5

Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss Game 5 of the Bucks‘ second-round series vs. the Heat on Tuesday night due to his sprained right ankle, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Antetokounmpo, who suffered his ankle sprain during Game 3 and re-aggravated the injury in Game 4, had been listed as questionable and was doing everything he could to return to the court, with head coach Mike Budenholzer telling reporters this afternoon that Giannis’ status would be a game-time decision. However, the quick turnaround from Sunday’s game apparently didn’t give the ankle enough time to heal.

Milwaukee managed to pull out a victory in Game 4 despite not having Antetokounmpo available for the second half, but extending the series again without the reigning MVP will be a tall task. Facing a 3-1 deficit, the Bucks will be eliminated with a loss. A win would force a Game 6 on Thursday and would give Giannis another opportunity to return.

While the Bucks will be without their leading scorer and rebounder, the Heat got some better injury news today. Jae Crowder (ankle), Tyler Herro (hip), and Kelly Olynyk (knee), who had all been listed as questionable on the injury report, are all expected to play tonight, per head coach Erik Spoelstra (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel).

Eastern Notes: Herro, Giannis, Raptors, Pistons

Tyler Herro hit some huge shots late in the Heat’s overtime loss to the Bucks during Game 4 on Sunday. He’s still not guaranteed of playing on Tuesday, according to NBA.com’s injury report. The rookie shooting guard is listed as questionable for Game 5 on Tuesday due to a right hip bruise. Two other Miami rotation players – forward Jae Crowder (left ankle sprain) and center Kelly Olynyk (right knee bruise) – are also considered questionable for Game 5.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bucks shouldn’t risk their future by allowing Giannis Antetokounmpo to play again in their second-round playoff series, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports opines. Milwaukee has little chance of winning three consecutive games and playing Antetokounmpo — who is listed as questionable for Game 5 with a sore right ankle — could do more damage than good. Goodwill cites Grant Hill and Kevin Durant as examples of players who tried to play through pain in the playoffs and wound up with more serious injuries.
  • Continuity has allowed the Raptors to overcome the loss of Kawhi Leonard and make another postseason run, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Many of their rotation players have been with the organization for at least three years, fostering good chemistry. They also play with a chip on their shoulders, eager to prove their detractors wrong.
  • The Pistons will be one of the eight teams not invited to Orlando to hold team camps, beginning in the middle of this month. Pistons.com’s Keith Langlois explores how each of their core players can make the most of their prolonged off-season.

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Herro, Dragic, Hill

Heat center Bam Adebayo has made a noticeable impact during the team’s first-round series against the Pacers, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald details.

Adebayo, 23, has averaged 15.3 points, 8.7 rebounds and five assists in three games, shooting 53% from the floor in 33.7 minutes of work. The Heat have won each of the three contests, and it’s largely due to Adebayo’s production and energy on both ends of the floor.

“His biggest moments came down the stretch on both ends [in Game 3], those rebounds were big time,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We needed those extra relief opportunities, because they jammed us up a couple of times and forced us into a couple of turnovers. Those relief points and those free throws were key.”

Adebayo grabbed multiple key offensive rebounds on Saturday, finishing the contest with 22 points and 11 boards. His improvement since being drafted 14th by the team in 2017 is well-documented. The Heat will desperately need his production if the team advances to the second round, with either Milwaukee or Orlando waiting as an opponent.

“I feel like the player that I am, it’s hard to [game plan] me out,” Adebayo said. “That’s because I do a lot of things so well. I’m not trying to pat myself on the back. But just because I screen well, I get guys open. It doesn’t always have to be about scoring with me. In Game 2, I had seven points but everybody said I had the biggest impact on the game. It’s little stuff like that. … When my shot isn’t falling, when my offense is not going, I always bank on my defense and my effort.”

There’s more out of Miami today:

  • Tyler Herro has no plans of backing down from the Pacers’ isolation attacks throughout the rest of the series, as relayed by Anthony Chiang (Twitter link). “It’s no secret who they’re going at. They’re going at me and Duncan,” Herro said. “There’s no secret about it. I think everybody sees it. But that’s something that I’m not going to run from it.” Herro finished with 20 points in Game 3 but was targeted frequently on defense, allowing multiple baskets throughout the fourth quarter. Herro has been working with Miami’s development coaches on studying film and improving his defense this season, a process that will likely continue in the coming years.
  • Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel explores how the Heat nearly shipped Goran Dragic to Dallas in the trade that brought Jimmy Butler to Miami last year. Dragic has been essential for the Heat in the first round, averaging 22.7 points, 5.7 assists and 34 minutes as the team’s starting point guard.
  • The Heat are in the midst of another player transformation, this time working to incorporate Solomon Hill into the team’s hard-working culture, Winderman examines in a separate story for the Miami Herald. Hill, who was acquired along with Jae Crowder and Andre Iguodala from Memphis in February, has yet to see concrete minutes for Miami in his seventh NBA campaign. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.