Tyler Herro

Heat Notes: Herro, Adebayo, Draft Picks, Okpala

After averaging 16.0 PPG and making 37.5% of his three-point attempts during last year’s playoff run as a rookie, Heat guard Tyler Herro didn’t take a major step forward statistically in 2020/21. The 21-year-old recorded 15.1 PPG with a .360 3PT% during the regular season and struggled in the postseason (9.3 PPG, .316 FG%).

However, president of basketball operations Pat Riley said multiple times during his end-of-season presser on Thursday that Herro is still a “core player for the Heat, expressing confidence that the second-year guard will continue to make positive strides going forward, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

“What happened to him going down the stretch, I actually thought he got better as a player,” Riley said. “If you think about his first year or his first 35 or 40 games, he really was strictly a catch-and-shoot type of player coming off of screens and catching and shooting. The only way that he was ever going to become a complete offensive player is he had to improve his ball-handling with both his right hand and his left hand, and he did. He’s an exceptional ball-handler. Now he can create space and get into gaps and raise on jumpers from almost anywhere.”

Given the Heat’s lack of moveable future draft picks, Herro would be the team’s most appealing trade chip if the front office tried to take a big swing for another impact player this offseason. But Riley’s comments on Thursday suggest Herro remains very much a part of Miami’s “core.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Riley said on Thursday that during last fall’s extension talks with Bam Adebayo, the Heat broached the subject of putting off the big man’s new contract until this year in order to maximize the team’s 2021 cap room. However, Adebayo preferred to sign his extension immediately and the Heat were fine with that, as Jackson relays.
  • Riley hasn’t had any discussions with the Thunder about removing the protections on the 2023 first-round pick Miami owes Oklahoma City, according to Jackson. Making that pick unprotected would allow the Heat to trade their 2025 and 2027 first-round picks, if they so choose, giving them more flexibility in trade talks. However, the Thunder likely won’t do the Heat a favor without receiving compensation — in a similar situation last offseason, the Bucks had to send the Cavaliers a 2025 second-round pick in order to remove the protections on the 2022 first-rounder Milwaukee owed to Cleveland. That allowed the Bucks to free up other future first-rounders for the Jrue Holiday trade.
  • This summer will be a critical one for KZ Okpala, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Okapala was the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft, but has yet to develop into a reliable rotation player for Miami and will be entering the final season of his three-year contract. “It’s a blessing that I do have a full offseason with Summer League and all that,” Okpala said. “So I accept my blessing, and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

Eastern Notes: Schofield, Magic, Cavs, Heat, Pacers

Word broke last Thursday that the Magic intended to sign Admiral Schofield to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception, but two days later, we learned that the deal had fallen through.

As Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explains (via Twitter), there were “inconsistencies” in Schofield’s COVID-19 testing that held up his signing and forced the Magic to move on. Orlando ended up bringing back Donta Hall, while Schofield was eventually confirmed to be negative for the coronavirus, per Wojnarowski.

It’s a tough break in what has been a difficult season for Schofield. After spending his rookie season with the Wizards, the 24-year-old was traded and waived in November, struggled in the G League after being selected first overall in the NBAGL draft, and – barring a last-minute signing – ultimately won’t end up playing any NBA games in his second professional season.

Here are a few more notes from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic argued on Monday that the Cavaliers made a mistake by signing Anderson Varejao to a ceremonial contract rather than trying to develop a young prospect using that roster spot, but Evan Dammarell of Forbes says the Cavs have already proven this season that they’re capable of developing young talent, based on the growth of youngsters like Dean Wade, Lamar Stevens, and Mfiondu Kabengele. While I’m not sure that’s a convincing case to not try to develop another player, it’s worth noting that Varejao was signed using a short-term hardship exception — if the Cavs had opted for a prospect instead, they wouldn’t have been able to sign that player to a multiyear contract.
  • Victor Oladipo (knee) still isn’t traveling with the Heat on their current road trip, but the recent return of Tyler Herro to the backcourt has given the team a boost, writes Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel.
  • Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files makes the case for why letting veteran assistant coach Dan Burke go was the worst move of the Pacers‘ 2020 offseason, while J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star suggests that Pacers swingman Kelan Martin – who began the season on a partially guaranteed contract – has earned more playing time.

Southeast Notes: Hornets’ Centers, Ball, Oladipo, Clifford

James Borrego isn’t satisfied with his options at center and he hasn’t been since he took over as Hornets coach three years ago, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo, P.J. Washington and Vernon Carey have all seen time in middle this season, but none of them has been outstanding. Washington will probably be the starter for the rest of the season, Bonnell adds, but he’s a natural power forward at 6-7 and likely isn’t the long-term answer.

“Every night I’m just trying to figure it out with that group. It’s been like that for three years,” Borrego said after watching his team get outrebounded 54-33 in a loss to the Celtics this week. “It may be another three years that we continue to look like that, actually. … Just trying to piece it together.”

General manager Mitch Kupchak was interested in James Wiseman in last year’s draft, but the Warriors grabbed him with the second pick. Charlotte may not be in the lottery this year, but the club will have about $30MM in cap room when free agency begins. Bonnell suggests targeting Kings center Richaun Holmes or trying to trade for Pacers center Myles Turner.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • With LaMelo Ball returning tonight from a fractured wrist, Nekias Duncan of Basketball News examines how the Hornets‘ dynamic rookie impacts the game through play-making, scoring and defense.
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo may be getting closer to playing, even though he didn’t accompany the team on its weekend road trip, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Oladipo hasn’t played since hurting his knee in an April 8 game, and the team hasn’t provided much information about a possible return. However, coach Erik Spoelstra said Oladipo is “making progress,” according to a tweet from the team. Tyler Herro, who continues to have issues with his injured foot, missed the road trip as well, notes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (via Twitter).
  • Magic head coach Steve Clifford continues to be sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, but acting coach Tyrone Corbin said Clifford “feels great,” tweets Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel. Corbin said Clifford is still not showing any symptoms of the virus and his oxygen numbers remain good.

Injury Notes: Porzingis, Davis, LaVine, Herro, Mitchell, Warren

Mavericks center Kristaps Porzingis will sit out tonight’s game with the Lakers, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. Porzingis sprained his left ankle in Thursday’s win over L.A., and even though the injury isn’t considered to be a long-term issue, Dallas is being careful with Porzingis.

“We believe (the ankle sprain) is not serious,” coach Rick Carlisle said, “but the decision for him to sit tonight was not a close call.” (Twitter link)

There’s more injury news from around the league:

  • The Lakers will have Anthony Davis on a 25-minute restriction for tonight’s game, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). Davis played 17 minutes Thursday as he returned to the court for the first time in nine weeks and felt “minimal soreness,” said coach Frank Vogel. The Lakers plan to use Davis in both halves tonight.
  • Bulls guard Zach LaVine won’t be available for the rest of the team’s road trip, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. That will include games tonight and Monday in Miami and Wednesday at New York. LaVine has been in the league’s health and safety protocols for the past 10 days, and coach Billy Donovan said the All-Star guard is still under quarantine.
  • Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to comment on whether Tyler Herro aggravated his foot injury in Friday’s loss to the Hawks, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Herro, who won’t be active tonight, had sat out the prior two games before playing against Atlanta.
  • Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell had his sprained ankle re-evaluated Friday, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Mitchell is making progress, but will miss at least one more week.
  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot, has rejoined the team, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files (Twitter link), who adds that Warren is no longer wearing a walking boot.

Southeast Notes: Herro, Beal, Heat, Gafford

Heat guard Tyler Herro is continuing to adjust to a bench role after starting in his first 14 games this season, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

Herro, who plays behind Victor Oladipo and Duncan Robinson, remains an important part of Miami’s offense and often serves as a much-needed spark off the bench.

“I think I can provide scoring off the bench, just come in with energy and try to really bring energy to the team and just try to keep going once that second unit comes in,” Herro said. “We got a lot of guys who can score, a lot of guys who can play. So once I get in, just try to keep the flow going and try to keep the rhythm of the team going.”

Herro also tends to finish games for Miami despite coming off the bench — which remains the better fit for him and the team. In 41 contests this season, the 21-year-old has averaged 15.6 points, five rebounds and 3.4 assists per contest.

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Wizards star Bradley Beal is dealing with some nerve issues in his hip, as relayed by Mike Deprisco of NBC Sports Washington. Beal missed five straight games with a hip contusion before returning on Wednesday, recording 26 points and five assists in a win over the Magic. “It’s a little worse than a contusion. I got a little nerve stuff going on too,” Beal said. “It’s a matter of just every day, keeping the symptoms down and being able to duke it out. I feel if I can push through some things and be able to tolerate and move comfortably, then I’ll give it a go.”
  • The Heat could fill their 15th roster spot and stay below the luxury tax as of April 19, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (Twitter link). Miami filled its 14th roster spot by signing veteran center Dewayne Dedmon to a rest-of-season contract this week. The team is now roughly $314K below the tax, according to Marks.
  • Wizards center Daniel Gafford had a nice workout earlier this week, Fred Katz of The Athletic tweets. Gafford has missed the team’s last five games due to a sprained right ankle. There remains no timetable on the 22-year-old’s return, according to coach Scott Brooks.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Vucevic, Heat, Pacers, Wizards

One of the NBA’s most reliable trade-deadline traditions is hearing after the fact which big-name players the Celtics came close to acquiring. Although Boston was active at this year’s deadline, adding Evan Fournier in one deal and moving Daniel Theis in another, the team didn’t let that annual tradition fall by the wayside.

League sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that the Celtics were a finalist in the Nikola Vucevic sweepstakes, having included multiple first-round picks in their offer to Orlando before the big man was sent to Chicago.

Additionally, Himmelsbach reports that the Celtics offered a first-round pick and a young player (believed to be Aaron Nesmith) to Orlando for Aaron Gordon, and were prepared to increase that offer, but the Magic accepted Denver’s offer before Boston had a chance to do so.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Another post-deadline tradition? Teams insisting they didn’t offer players whose names were repeatedly mentioned in trade rumors. The Heat did that today, issuing a statement stating that they never offered Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Precious Achiuwa in any deals. “They were asked for, but an offer was never made,” the team said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. While the Heat’s reluctance to part with Herro was widely reported, at least one of Robinson or Achiuwa – and perhaps both – would’ve had to be included in any viable package for Kyle Lowry, so saying they were “never offered” is likely just a matter of semantics.
  • Although they were the subject of several trade rumors prior to the deadline, the Pacers were one of the few teams to stand pat. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required), that inactivity can be attributed in large part to the team’s belief in Caris LeVert. Indiana, encouraged by the early returns, is satisfied letting LeVert get back up to speed and seeing how he meshes with the club’s current core.
  • Addressing the Wizards‘ acquisition of Daniel Gafford, general manager Tommy Sheppard cited the youngster’s shot-blocking ability and athleticism, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post relays.

Raptors Notes: Lowry, Ujiri, Bembry, Watson

During the hours leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweeted that the Sixers and Raptors appeared to be “at the one-yard line” in their discussions on a Kyle Lowry trade. Obviously, those talks didn’t make it into the end zone and Lowry ended up staying put. But Sam Amick of The Athletic hears that Toronto did feel at one point as if a deal with Philadelphia was close.

According to Amick, the deal would have included Danny Green, who would’ve been re-routed to a third team. It’s a safe bet that at least one of Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle would have been part of the package too. However, the draft compensation involved in the proposed trade was the obstacle that held things up, a source tells Amick.

Following up today on the Lowry discussions, Grange says (via Twitter) that the Sixers knew Miami was Lowry’s preferred landing spot, so they had to view him as a possible rental. That limited what they were willing to offer beyond Maxey, Grange adds. The Lakers were in a similar boat with Talen Horton-Tucker, writes Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca, while the Heat were unwilling to offer Tyler Herro for a player they could theoretically sign in free agency this summer.

Here’s more on the Raptors:

  • While the Raptors didn’t trade Lowry at the deadline, it’s hard to shake the sense that more drastic changes could be coming as soon as this offseason, Grange writes for Sportsnet.ca. While Lowry could sign a new contract with Toronto, it seems just as likely that he could head elsewhere, possibly in a sign-and-trade deal.
  • Like Lowry, Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri is also on an expiring contract, and while he spoke glowingly about the franchise on Thursday, he gave no indication that an in-season extension is around the corner. “We’ll visit this at the end of the season at some point,” Ujiri said of his contract with Toronto, per Grange.
  • During his media session on Thursday, Ujiri addressed the idea that the Raptors’ asking price for Lowry was too high: “I was surprised (the offers) weren’t better because, to be honest, I’ve viewed him as somebody that can go out and put a stamp on what you can do this year. … I’ve lived it, I’ve seen it… I know what the guy does. I know who he is. And that’s the truth. So, yeah, we’re going to (be) skewed in some kind of way and I’m biased in many ways with the players we have and I hope I’m pardoned that if I valued him too much, but that’s what I believe in today.”
  • Raptors reserves DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson have entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols and won’t play on Friday night, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca.

Trade Rumors: Lowry, Knicks, Ball, Suns, Nuggets

Kyle Lowry‘s future is the focus around the NBA right now, Shams Charania said on Stadium’s live trade deadline show on Twitter.

According to Charania, the Raptors remain seriously engaged with the Heat and Lakers, having been offered packages headed by Duncan Robinson (Miami) or Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (L.A.). Toronto is pushing for the inclusion of Tyler Herro or Talen Horton-Tucker in any deal with the Heat or Lakers, says Charania.

Charania adds that the Heat are believed to be Lowry’s preferred destination.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Knicks have remained engaged with the Pelicans today about a possible Lonzo Ball trade, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York is also receiving inquiries on center Mitchell Robinson, according to Begley, though it’s not clear if the team is open at all to moving Robinson.
  • As of earlier this afternoon, the Suns weren’t close to making any deals, and all signs pointed to them standing pat at the deadline, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • The Nuggets are likely done dealing after agreeing to trades for Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

Fischer’s Latest: Gordon, Vucevic, Lowry, Redick, Ball, DeRozan

On the eve of the trade deadline, the Nuggets have become the favorites to pry Aaron Gordon away from the Magic, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Denver’s offer would include guard Gary Harris, a first-round pick, and either R.J. Hampton, Zeke Nnaji or Bol Bol.

Although the Nuggets seem to have the momentum, the Celtics are still “very engaged” in the process, according to Fischer. Boston’s proposed deal has involved Marcus Smart and a first-rounder, and it’s possible that a second first-round pick and the Celtics’ $28.5MM traded player exception could be used as well, with Evan Fournier also headed to Boston, says Fischer. Previous reports indicated that the C’s were looking to keep Smart out of the deal, offering a younger player in his place.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Trail Blazers all remain interested in acquiring Gordon too.

Fischer passes on a few more trade rumors as the deadline draws near:

  • The Celtics are one of the few teams to express interest in trading for center Nikola Vucevic, but the Magic are putting a much higher price on him than Gordon. Orlando is asking for multiple first-round picks and a player who fits with their young core. Fischer expects Vucevic to stay with the Magic.
  • The Clippers, Lakers, Sixers and Heat are all still pursuing Kyle Lowry, but the Raptors‘ high price tag may prevent a deal from getting done. Fischer believes Philadelphia would have to offer two players from the group of Danny Green, Seth Curry and Tyrese Maxey, while Miami would need to part with Goran Dragic, another large salary and either Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro. Both Los Angeles teams are limited by their lack of available draft picks.
  • J.J. Redick appears headed for a buyout as the Pelicans haven’t found a team willing to offer draft picks or prospects in return for the veteran guard. Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggests a return to the Sixers is possible or maybe a reunion with former teammate Chris Paul on the Suns.
  • The Knicks are interested in Lonzo Ball and have the cap space to keep him in free agency, Pincus adds. The price could be Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and possibly the Mavericks’ 2021 first-round pick.
  • Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan is also high on the Knicks‘ wish list, states A. Sherrod Blakely of Bleacher Report.

Trade Rumors: Celtics, Raptors, Herro, McGee, Mavs

Reports earlier this week stated that acquiring Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier from the Magic could cost the Celtics a package that includes Marcus Smart and two first-round picks. However, a source tells Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link) that Boston is currently offering a first-round pick and a young player (not Smart) for Gordon, and are trying not to include a second first-rounder in a potential deal.

Murphy’s report doesn’t mention Fournier, which makes sense — if the Celtics want both Gordon and Fournier, a higher-priced player like Smart would need to be included for salary-matching purposes, since only one of those players would fit into Boston’s $28.5MM traded player exception. But if the C’s are just targeting Gordon, salary-matching wouldn’t be necessary.

Here are a few more trade rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Raptors are continuing to push for Tyler Herro‘s inclusion in any trade with the Heat involving Kyle Lowry, reports Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News says (via Twitter) that the Sixers view acquiring Lowry as a long shot.
  • Several contending teams are in the mix for Cavaliers center JaVale McGee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says there’s a “strong sense” that a deal will be made by Thursday’s deadline.
  • Appearing today on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson suggested that a big deadline splash is unlikely for his team, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets. Don’t get your hopes up,” Nelson said. “We like this young crew.” Head coach Rick Carlisle has also expressed skepticism that the Mavs will make any significant moves, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.