Eastern Conference executive: ‘Franz Wagner is as white as [Tyler] Herro but I might take him over Herro’

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The continuing trade talks regarding Damian Lillard has seemingly evolved into a debate over whether Tyler Herro is better than Tyrese Maxey.

Sean Deveney of Heavy.com looked at how the debate is being viewed through a racial lens, with Herro’s white skin somehow being perceived as a detriment. Deveney recently asked an Eastern Conference scouting executive’s thoughts on the matter.

“Franz Wagner is as white as Herro, but I might take him over Herro,” he said. “I am not sure the logic there. NBA teams always get accused of overvaluing white guys. Now we’re penalizing them?”

Herro is the only top player the Miami Heat are reportedly willing to give up in any deal for Lillard. Back on July 1, Lillard asked to be traded from the Portland Trail Blazers after having spent his entire career with the franchise.

Despite the fact that Lillard is apparently only interested in playing for the Heat, the Philadelphia 76ers are also seeking to acquire the superstar.

Herro, Maxey and Wagner entered the NBA within a three-year span from 2019 to 2021. Herro was the 13th overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, Maxey was taken by the Sixers with the 21st overall pick the following year and Wagner went to the Orlando Magic in the eighth spot in 2021.

In Herro’s four seasons, he’s averaged 17.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. During his time with the team, the Heat have reached the finals twice, though he was injured for virtually all of the past postseason.

Maxey’s three campaigns have seen him average 15.4 points, 3.3 assists and 2.7 rebounds per contest. In contrast to the Heat during Herro’s time, the 76ers have yet to get past the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Meanwhile, Wagner has averaged 16.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest for the Magic, who remain a team in rebuilding mode. In Wagner’s two seasons, the team has compiled a record of 56-108.

Having Herro’s name connected to possible trades is nothing new. In previous years, his name has been linked with other possible deals, but he continues to be a part of the organization.

Yet, the strong desire to add a prolific scorer like Lillard is likely to remain at a fever pitch. That fever could drag on, considering that one report suggested that the Trail Blazers are willing to drag out any trade talks in order to get the most assets in return.

Regardless of where Herro does end up next season, the team employing him will likely be more focused on his on-court production than his skin color.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.