The University of Kentucky product recently opened up on what went down during his first conversation with Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra during the Lillard trade talks.
"Just being able to connect with him and understand that we're both on the same page"
🔊 #Heat Guard @raf_tyler on his conversation with Erik Spoelstra during the Damian Lillard trade discussions #HEATTwitter #HeatCulture@MiamiHeat | @TheJaxShow https://t.co/IHMBxr3V1a pic.twitter.com/CHZdsUx2cC
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) October 17, 2023
“Him reaching out and just wanting to connect — that was important to me,” Herro said. “Just being able to connect with him and understand that we’re both on the same page as far as what was going to happen at that point and just seeing Coach for the first time all summer was good.
“I haven’t saw him or really anybody from the organization all summer, so just to be able to connect with him was good, and then we spoke about the upcoming season and then just this summer and how everything went, so, obviously I put in a lot of work over the summer and really excited to get going and show my improvements.”
Herro recently admitted that the Heat told him that a trade for Lillard wouldn’t happen. All summer long, rumors flew around about the Trail Blazers not wanting to receive a package headlined by Herro. The 23-year-old hasn’t held back in responding to Portland’s disinterest in him, saying that he is glad the franchise didn’t want him.
The Blazers wound up getting a large haul for Lillard when taking into account their trade of Jrue Holiday — who they initially got from the Milwaukee Bucks for Lillard — to the Boston Celtics. Portland ended up with Deandre Ayton, Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams III, Toumani Camara, three first-round picks and two pick swaps.
For what it’s worth, the Heat were reportedly prepared at certain points to offer a package involving lots of draft assets, Herro (to a third team), Nikola Jovic and expiring contracts.
All of that is now in the past, however, and Herro’s focus is fully on the upcoming regular season, which will be his fifth with the Heat.
The former first-round pick has put in tons of work ever since last season ended and seems like he has improved a solid amount. In two preseason games, he’s averaged 26.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game while knocking down 48.8 percent of his shots from the field and 42.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
A leap from Herro could help the Heat remain contenders this season. Teams like the Bucks and Celtics shook up the NBA world this offseason by acquiring Lillard and Holiday, respectively. Meanwhile, the Heat didn’t make any groundbreaking moves and lost key role players in Gabe Vincent and Max Strus.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that the Heat have surpassed expectations many times over the past few seasons with Jimmy Butler at the helm.
Only time will tell if that’s in store for Miami in the 2023-24 campaign.