After two straight blowouts to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat’s season is all but over. No one should sugarcoat it — the Heat are about to waste a season of Jimmy Butler’s prime, something I’ve worried about since the early struggles. It makes sense for fans to look back at missed opportunities.
The notion that the Heat could’ve traded for James Harden, but didn’t want to include Tyler Herro has never gone away. It also isn’t true.
The Heat really kept Tyler Herro instead of trading for Harden pic.twitter.com/3Oy0XAyNwJ— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) May 28, 2021
Back in December, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Tyler Herro would not be considered off the table in a James Harden trade. When news broke that the Heat pulled out of talks for Harden just before the regular season, the local reporters said that the talks never advanced beyond initial stages. ESPN reported that Miami’s lack of draft picks prevented talks from going far on the Rockets’ side.
It makes sense. Although the Heat had two assets in Herro and Duncan Robinson, they didn’t have the most important asset in these types of trades — draft picks. The Brooklyn Nets gave up four first-round picks and four pick swaps in the Harden trade. The Heat already had their 2021 and 2023 first-round picks out the window — Miami actually gave up the ‘23 pick in the Jimmy Butler trade — and NBA rules forbid teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive seasons.
The Nets are trading for All-NBA star James Harden and sending four first-round picks and four draft swaps to the Rockets, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen are being moved -- could be another team or two involved.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
The Clippers gave up a plethora of picks to trade for Paul George. Even the Milwaukee Bucks traded three draft picks for Jrue Holiday, who, unlike Harden and George, has only made one All-Star team.
Let’s not forget that the Heat gave up two draft picks to trade for Goran Dragic in 2015. (Miami also gave picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors back in 2010 for LeBron James and Chris Bosh to sign six-year contracts they opted out of after four years, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
If you want to criticize the Heat for refusing to trade Herro for Kyle Lowry, fine. If you want to criticize the Heat for never holding onto their picks long enough to make an offer like the Nets, Clippers or Bucks did, fine. But don’t say that the Heat could’ve had Harden if only they included Herro in the trade.