Tyler Herro says Miami Heat told him that Damian Lillard trade wasn’t going to happen

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Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA universe was significantly shocked when the Miami Heat didn’t land Damian Lillard and the coveted All-Star was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks by the Portland Trail Blazers instead.

But Heat guard Tyler Herro says he was not among those surprised by the announcement because the team “told me it wasn’t going to happen.”

Herro was heavily involved in the Lillard trade rumors throughout the offseason, with the 23-year-old considered the centerpiece of Miami’s reported offers. He now says it’s his intention to make it impossible for the Heat to trade him in the future as an untouchable player.

“Honestly, my goal this year is to get my name untouchable,” Herro told the Miami Herald. “That’s my goal. At the end of this season, they won’t want to trade me. That’s my goal.”

Herro added that he never requested a trade during this summer’s Lillard saga because the Heat told him that a deal wasn’t going to happen.

About to begin his fifth NBA season, Herro also was mentioned in trade rumors involving Donovan Mitchell and Kevin Durant prior to the 2022-23 campaign. Though the Trail Blazers reportedly did not want him, it shows that he may have value to other teams around the NBA and can play an important role with the Heat.

Named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year for the 2021-22 campaign, the University of Kentucky product averaged 20.1 points and a career-high 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists last season. He was unable to contribute to the Heat’s run to the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals after injuring his hand in the playoff opener against the Bucks.

He showed during the offseason that he is healthy, and after the Lillard acquisition did not come to pass, he will have to be a key contributor for the Heat if they are able to remain contenders for the NBA championship.

Missing out on Lillard was a blow to the Heat, compounded by the fact that he wound up with a top competitor in Milwaukee, where he will pair with superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. In the aftermath of the original trade, Jrue Holiday wound up with the Boston Celtics, making those rivals more formidable as well.

The machinations of how Lillard found a new home are being revealed almost every day, and Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin recently explained some of his thinking.

Herro is just one of those involved who must now move on and do whatever he can to put the events in the past with the 2023-24 NBA season about to begin.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.