The Miami Heat were reportedly in the hunt to acquire James Harden after requesting a trade from the Houston Rockets last November. Adam Borai of Five Reasons Sports stated on November 11th that Miami was the third team on Harden’s list of preferred destinations alongside the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
How the James Harden trade talks have affected Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro
Harden’s willingness to play for Miami opened the door for dialogue between the Heat and Rockets. Both teams talked multiple times over the next month, but they couldn’t agree on the trade compensation.
The Rockets wanted all of Miami’s attractive assets (Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, two first-round picks, and four pick swaps) to part with Harden. Miami was only willing to trade two players of Achiuwa, Herro, and Robinson.
Miami wanted to keep one of their young assets for two reasons, to have a slightly better supporting cast around the star or the flexibility to trade for another impact player in the future. The Heat would eventually pull out of Harden’s trade talks on December 17th because they wanted their players to focus on the team’s upcoming season.
Miami’s decision to end the trade talks added another layer to the already enormous expectations for one of their players. The NBA media expected Herro to take a significant statistical jump during his second due to the performance in the Orlando bubble.
Herro averaged 16 points and 5.1 rebounds during the 2020 playoffs, shooting 43.3 percent from the field on 13.2 attempts per game. Herro’s production led Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer to state in September that he could have a Jamal Murray-type rise.
The combination of these factors made fans believe that Herro should have a more extraordinary statistical season. Unfortunately, Herro hasn’t taken a step forward this season, averaging 15 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.4 assists, shooting 42.6 percent from the field on 13.5 attempts per game.
Herro’s statistics are in the same ballpark as his rookie season as he averaged 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists, shooting 42.8 percent on 11.5 attempts per game. Herro’s inability to progress as a player has led people to wonder whether he can ever live up to previous expectations. Brandon Di Perno of SB Nation wrote an article this week asking whether Miami should give up on him.
Why Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro is in a similar position to Trae Young
The reality is that Herro is in a similar position to Trae Young. The Atlanta Hawks decided to trade the third overall during the 2018 NBA draft to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the fifth overall pick and a 2019 first-round selection (Cam Reddish). The Mavericks would use the third overall pick to select the consensus best player in the draft Luka Doncic.
Conversely, the Hawks would end up drafting Young. Since the draft, Young has reached an All-Star Game with career statistics of 24.1 points and 8.9 assists, shooting 42.8 percent on 17.8 attempts. Young’s numbers are in the same range as Doncic. Doncic has career numbers of 25.8 points and 8.4 assists, shooting 45.7 percent on 19.1 shots per game.
Despite his statistics, people still believe that the Hawks made a bad trade even though they have similar numbers. In February, Chris Kirschner of The Athletic stated that the Mavericks are currently winning the deal as Doncic has already become a generational player.
Young will never escape the comparisons to Doncic as people will always wonder how much better the Hawks would be with Doncic. Herro will experience the same thing as people will say the Miami Heat would have had a better chance to win a championship with Harden regardless of Herro’s performance.