3 reasons the Miami Heat need to extend Tyler Herro no matter the cost this offseason

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Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has been a revelation this season, as the University of Kentucky product is posting career-highs in several categories in what is clearly his best season as a pro.

The Heat have benefitted from Herro taking the next step, as they currently sit in the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Herro, who is in his third season in the NBA, is averaging 20.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.

With his big season, Herro is expected to command a pretty penny this offseason, as he will be eligible for a rookie extension. Miami drafted him with No. 13 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The question is whether or not the Heat value Herro enough to offer him an extension, potentially at the max, to keep him in Miami.

The Heat could wait things out and let Herro become a restricted free agent following the 2022-23 season, but the team and Herro would have to deal with a season full of questions about his status during the ensuing offseason.

Plus, if the Heat decline to offer Herro an extension after a career year, it would seem like his time in Miami would be coming to a close. With the way Herro has played this season, that seems like the worst outcome for both sides.

If Miami continues to build on the success of its 2021-22 regular season in the playoffs, it would be a no-brainer to keep Herro in a Heat uniform for years to come.

Here are three reasons why Miami would be wise to extend Herro no matter the cost this coming offseason:

1. Keeping it on their terms

The first concept is pretty simple. Miami should want to sign Herro to a deal that is on its terms and not one that is brought to him by another team.

If the Heat were to let Herro become a restricted free agent following the conclusion of next season, he could sign an offer sheet with another team that includes some type of language that may make the deal less desirable for Miami to match.

If the Heat intend on keeping, or trading, Herro, it may be easier if they aren’t beholden to just one team to decide his fate. If Herro signs an offer sheet with another team, then Miami would be stuck with just two options: match the offer or simply let him walk for nothing.

The Heat control their own destiny in this situation.

If they ink Herro to an extension this offseason, they have the flexibility to trade him if they feel like they can upgrade the roster. In the event they don’t want to move on, they will have already locked up Herro with a long-term deal, and they wouldn’t have to spend a whole season with his future being up in the air.

It’s a win-win situation for both sides.

2. Difficult to replace

Herro has arguably been the Heat’s best offensive player at many points this season.

The former first-round pick is second on the team in points per game, and he is second on the team in offensive box plus-minus. That’s pretty good for someone who is playing as a sixth man.

Herro gives Miami a fresh dynamic off the bench with his ability to score in many different ways, and he’s a perfect complementary piece to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.

Plus, the 22-year-old’s scoring prowess allows Butler to facilitate the offense more, which is especially important if Kyle Lowry misses games or is not on the floor.

Herro’s trajectory as a scorer could turn him into an All-Star caliber player, and it would be hard for Miami to replace that in a trade unless it was able to net an All-Star.

With the way the Heat are playing this season, the team would be wise to not mess with the chemistry of the roster and allow Herro to continue to grow into an offensive star alongside the team’s current core.

3. Clarity for the future

Similar to how Miami wouldn’t want to let another team dictate Herro’s deal, the Heat also should want to have their future set heading into next season.

If Miami extends Herro this coming offseason, it would have a better idea regarding its cap situation going forward and how to handle other impending free agents.

If the team put an extension for Herro on the back burner, it could find itself in trouble if another key player decides to sign elsewhere. It would make more sense for Miami to build around Herro, Butler, Adebayo and Lowry rather than wonder whether or not Herro will be back after the 2022-23 season.

It makes more sense for the team to stay out of limbo so it can be aggressive in free agency, the draft and the trade market following this season. In the event that Miami doesn’t win the NBA Finals this season, having a clear plan to fix the team’s weaknesses would be in its best interest.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.