Report: Miami open to moving Tyler Herro in trade for James Harden

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The Heat would pursue a trade for Houston Rockets superstar James Harden if he’s made available, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Harden reportedly asked for a trade to Brooklyn in November, but he’s believed to have expanded his list of desired destinations to include Philadelphia, Milwaukee, and Miami in recent days. With Harden under contract for at least two more years, the Rockets don’t feel pressured to move him in the near future, and they’re resisting for the time being unless the offer includes a young star and significant draft assets.

Could Miami fit the bill? It’s possible, with Jackson noting that second-year guard Tyler Herro “would be in play” in a potential Harden proposal. The No. 13 overall pick in the NBA’s 2019 draft, Herro improved throughout his rookie campaign and averaged 16.0 points (37.5% on 3-pointers), 5.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game in the playofffs for a Miami squad that made the NBA Finals. Just 20 years old, the 6-foot-5 Herro is seen as a promising prospect with room for more development.

Here’s what Jackson sees as Miami’s best potential Harden offer:

Miami’s best possible hypothetical trade offer would be Herro; two among Precious Achiuwa, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson; the Heat’s 2025 and 2027 first-round picks (which would require Miami and Oklahoma City agreeing to unlock protection on the Heat’s 2023 first-rounder owed the Thunder) and Kelly Olynyk and Andre Iguodala as cap facilitators.

Because Herro is on his initial NBA contract, the Heat would need to send out large salary fillers such as Olynyk and Iguodala in order to make any trade for Harden’s $41.3-million contract permissible.

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From Harden’s perspective, the intrigue of Miami is clear. He’s long had a close relationship with Heat star Jimmy Butler, and the team played in the NBA Finals just two months ago. With the 31-year-old Harden seeking his first championship, the Heat could give him an opportunity.

The bigger question is whether Miami is the most ideal partner for Rockets GM Rafael Stone. While Herro is an intriguing prospect, he hasn’t been an All-Star or All-NBA player, in contrast to Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. (Then again, Herro is four years younger than Simmons, and it’s also possible that perhaps the 76ers don’t make Simmons available.)

Herro would seem to present greater upside than most of the rumored names available from Brooklyn or Milwaukee. It’s possible, of course, that Houston could trade Harden to other teams beyond his preferred list — but it remains to be seen whether a team would offer significant value for Harden in a trade, if they aren’t convinced that he wants to be there.

At a bare minimum, the presence of Herro in the bidding could be useful leverage for the Rockets, in that it presents evidence of a highly valued asset that other suitors would need to offer aggressively to beat out. Depending on what Stone and his staff think of Herro’s potential, perhaps the Miami deal could eventually be the one to reach the finish line.

For now, the Rockets appear focused primarily on getting Harden back with the team and perhaps re-convincing him, with a strong start to the 2020-21 season, that he could contend for a title in Houston.

According to new head coach Stephen Silas, Harden could begin practicing with the Rockets as soon as Monday, once he clears COVID-19 testing protocols after his delayed arrival to training camp.

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