Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro entered training camp with two goals in mind, securing a lucrative rookie-scale contract extension and winning a starting job for the coming season.
The first of those objectives was realized with the Heat confirming Sunday that the team and Herro have agreed on a contract extension, a four-year deal that an NBA executive confirmed to the Sun Sentinel that is worth as much as $130 million, kicking in at the start of the 2023-24 season.
“Tyler is an impact, multifaceted player and we are excited to have him signed for the next five years,” Heat President Pat Riley said in a statement. “His improvement every year since we drafted him has led to this day. We believe he will continue to get better.”
Because of NBA-salary cap policies, with the agreement Herro essentially cannot be traded during 2022-23, because of the sharp spike in his salary from the $5.7 million he will earn this season on the final year of his rookie deal.
Herro’s agreement includes $120 million in guaranteed salary, with an additional $10 million in possible incentives, an NBA source confirmed.
Unlike the negotiations with Bam Adebayo during the 2020 offseason, when the Heat center received a five-year, $163 million extension, the negotiations with Herro were not about a maximum-scale extension. Only such deals can be written for five years, instead of the four agreed upon by Herro. A maximum deal for Herro could have been for as much as $188 million over five seasons.
With the extension not kicking in until after the coming season, the Heat now control Herro’s rights for the next five seasons.
The agreement was a moment Herro had been awaiting.
“I was active early in the summer,” he told the Sun Sentinel last week of his extension window that opened in July. “Then I realized it wasn’t going to get done, if it does get done, until later. So I just told my agent to call me when it’s ready.”
Herro’s contract will give the Heat a top-heavy salary base in 2023-24, when Jimmy Butler is due $43.7 million, Adebayo $32.8 million and Kyle Lowry $29.7 million. In addition, Duncan Robinson is due $18.1 million that season.
There had been thought that the Heat were slow playing the Herro negotiations in order to assess trade possibilities, with the Heat linked this offseason to Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Durant has since agreed to remain with the Brooklyn Nets, with Mitchell last month traded from the Utah Jazz to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Herro likely now no longer can be utilized as a sweetener for a trade to address the Heat’s void at power forward, with 2021-22 starter P.J. Tucker leaving in free agency for the Philadelphia 76ers. Among those who had been mentioned as possible Heat targets at power forward were the Indiana Pacers’ Myles Turner and the Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins.
Selected out of Kentucky with the No. 14 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, Herro last season was named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. He then said his goal was to earn a starting role going forward, a competition that will take place throughout the preseason, including the Heat’s impending five-game exhibition schedule.
Herro, 22, told the Sun-Sentinel during the Heat’ training camp last week at the Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas that he only would accept an extension if he felt it was commensurate with his value. The extension exceeds the one received this summer by New York Knicks guard R.J. Barrett, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, as well as rookie-scale extensions signed in recent years by players such as Jaylen Brown and Mikal Bridges.
“There’s players across the league that have gotten paid who I know I’m better than. So it’s got to be the right number,” he said last week.
Herro becomes the sixth player from the 2019 first-round to receive an extension this offseason, with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant among others agreeing to such deals.
Had Herro and the Heat not reached an agreement by the NBA’s October 17 extension deadline, Herro would have become a restricted free agent on July 1, with the Heat then having the ability to match outside offers.
With the NBA salary cap expected to make a massive rise next offseason, the Heat instead opted to get ahead of the salary curve, even amid concerns about Herro’s ability on the defensive end.
Among those that Herro will be competing against for a starting role this season include Victor Oladipo and Max Strus, the incumbent starter at shooting guard.
For Herro, the agreement essentially leaves him in his happy place.
“My home is Miami. I want to be here,” he said during training camp. “Since I’ve gotten here, we went to the [NBA] Finals and the Eastern Conference finals in three years.”