Heat insider floats idea of trade sending Tyler Herro and draft capital to Lakers for LeBron James

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One Miami Heat insider recently discussed the idea of the team bringing back LeBron James, with the Heat hypothetically sending Tyler Herro and draft capital to the Los Angeles Lakers in return.

Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel looked at how James’ frustration with the Lakers’ current struggles and Herro’s contract situation make the idea of a deal interesting.

“But for all the machinations and permutations that Heat general manager Andy Elisburg fiddled with on his abacus when it came time to make a decision on a rookie-scale extension in October, Tyler Herro becomes trade eligible again in July (he’s actually trade eligible at the moment, but there are major salary-cap hurdles in place),” Winderman wrote. “And that makes it all the more curious, because the two-year, $97 million extension signed by LeBron also does not have him trade eligible until the offseason.

“Question: Since the end of the Big Three era has there been a Heat player who speaks more to the L.A. vibe than Tyler Herro? Follow-up: If passive-aggressive LeBron further amplifies Wednesday’s volume amid continues losing, might the Lakers have to consider their next evolution, just as they did in the post-Kobe Bryant era?

“Yes, it could take more, from salary and draft-capital standpoints.

“And, yes, there will be a full trading period ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trading deadline for the Lakers to make things right in the moment.

“But for as energized as the East now stands, with Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving having the Brooklyn Nets playing as the Nets many previously anticipated, there would be something to be said about [Bam] Adebayo, LeBron, Jimmy Butler from a two-way standpoint. Try beating that suffocating defense at crunch time.”

James signed with the Heat as a free agent in 2010, a blockbuster acquisition in conjunction with Miami’s addition of Chris Bosh. The Heat’s moves sparked plenty of controversy and criticism, but the end result for the team was NBA titles in 2012 and 2013, as well as four consecutive Eastern Conference titles.

That run came to an end in 2014, when James announced that he was returning to play for his original team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Over the next four seasons, James led the Cavaliers to four straight NBA Finals and helped the franchise win its first NBA title in 2016.

In 2018, James signed with the Lakers and endured a bumpy first season with L.A. The following season, the Lakers managed to navigate their way through the NBA’s bubble in Orlando, Fla. to win the NBA championship.

James won his fourth Finals MVP award by defeating the Heat in that championship series. Herro was a rookie on that Heat squad and has since continued to develop into an important part of the team’s lineup, despite being frequently mentioned in trade rumors.

On Friday, James turned 38 years old and is currently playing in his 20th NBA season.

Ordinarily, the idea of trading a key young player for a player who is now just two years away from turning 40 would get shot down quickly.

However, James showed on his birthday that he’s in no danger of slowing down anytime soon. He finished with 47 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a 130-121 win over the Atlanta Hawks and drew tons of praise from the NBA world.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra certainly believes that James can still deliver on the court, saying earlier this week that the veteran is like NFL superstar Tom Brady when it comes to longevity.

Right now, any talk of a possible Heat deal for James is just speculation on the part of Winderman. That may change in the weeks and months ahead, but for now, it’s simply a topic of debate.

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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.