Should the Heat give up Tyler Herro in a Bradley Beal trade?

Feb 26, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) talks with a fan during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 26, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) talks with a fan during the second half against the Chicago Bulls at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyler Herro is younger and cheaper than Bradley Beal, but should the Miami Heat trade him to make the most of Jimmy Butler’s window anyway?

Another summer, another round of trade rumors involving Bradley Beal and Tyler Herro. Both guards have been the subject of trade chatter for the last several years but, this time, it appears a move is likely to happen. Under new leadership with former Clippers executive Michael Winger taking over basketball operations, the Wizards are aiming at a rebuild and will reportedly work with Beal to find a trade partner.

Beal has been connected to the Miami Heat in the past, and multiple reports have linked the two parties again. Beal’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, has a long history of working with Miami on deals, including the one that brought Kyle Lowry over in a sign-and-trade with the Raptors. Beal also has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning the former Florida Gator can veto any deal that doesn’t land him in one of his preferred destinations.

So that’s the Beal part of this. Now the Herro of it all. Nearly every offseason since entering the league in 2019, Herro’s name has been tied to a trade for a star of some kind. Last summer, Herro was involved in trade rumors for Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Before that, it was James Harden. The Heat and Herro agreed on a four-year, $120 million contract extension before the start of last season, tabling rumors for a few months. But now, with Beal and potentially even Damian Lillard on the block, Herro’s name has been thrust back into the trade machines.

Here’s the thing: For a superstar like Durant or Lillard, parting with Herro would be a no-brainer. For someone like Beal, though, not so much. Let’s jump into why.

First and foremost, the contract. Herro is set to make $27 million next season. At 23 years old, Herro was Miami’s second-leading scorer and has shown enough to make that a fair deal. Beal, on the other hand, will be 30 at the end of the month and is set to earn $46.7 million next season. Beal hasn’t played more than 60 games in four years, and averaged three more points per game than Herro last season.

At the end of Herro’s current deal, he’ll be 27 years old making $33 million. At the end of Beal’s contract, he will be 33 and has a player option of $57.1 million that he almost certainly will pick up. That’s a lot of money for someone in the twilight of his career, who will still have a no-trade clause as part of his agreement (just because a player waives his no-trade clause once doesn’t mean the clause then disappears. Beal will always have veto power until the end of the current contract).

In total, there’s an outstanding difference of about $88 million between Herro and Beal’s contract. Building around Herro would be much easier than building around Beal. Is the difference between Beal and Herro worth $88 million, plus whatever else would have to go out in a trade?

Here’s how Beal’s stats and compare to Herro’s over the last two years:

Beal: 23.2 points on 48% shooting (33.3% on 3s), 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists
Herro: 20.4 points on 44.3% shooting (38.7% on 3s), 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists

Beal is a better passer, midrange shooter and finisher. Herro is a better 3-point shooter and rebounder, who is developing his playmaking and finishing chops. There’s little doubt that Beal is the better player right now, while Herro is the one with more longterm upside.

There’s also the matter that, when it comes to salary, it wouldn’t be Herro for Beal straight up. To match money, the Heat would also have to include another contract, most likely that of Duncan Robinson. When taking that into consideration, the money owed is a lot more equal.

Herro + Robinson: $45.1M in 23-24; $48.4M in 24-25; $50.9M in 25-26, $33M in 26-27
Beal: $46.7M in 23-24; $50.2M in 24-25; $53.7M in 25-26; $57.1M in 26-27

The biggest difference is 2026-27, when Robinson’s deal comes off the books and it’s just a comparison between Beal and Herro. But, by then, the Heat’s cap sheet will be completely cleared with the exception of Herro (or, hypothetically, Beal).

To make the most of Jimmy Butler’s window, the answer is Beal. He makes the Heat better right now, gives them a bona fide go-to scorer who knows what it means to be a No. 1 option on offense. However, when you consider the contract, Herro’s upside with Beal’s eventual decline and team-building complexities, it may not seem worth it to trade Herro for Beal.

Perhaps this is why ESPN’s Brian Windhorst claimed that the Wizards might not get as much back for Beal as expected. If every team’s front office goes through this process, they might come to a similar conclusion.

If the Heat are truly all-in on the next couple of years, Herro for Beal makes sense, even if it risks being stuck with a ballooning contract three and four years from now. But what is Miami’s belief in Herro? Do they think he can one day be as good as Beal is now and, if so, how soon? There’s no easy way to answer these questions.

The best-case scenario is that they can avoid the decision altogether. The other trade package that works is the expiring contracts of Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo, plus Nikola Jovic and Haywood Highsmith. That would appear to be the more palatable option, even if it adds more salary to the books in future years. In this instance, the Heat could also trade Herro — their best asset — in a separate deal for another star such as Damian Lillard or a longterm answer at power forward.

All of this is just speculation for now. Based on Windhorst’s reporting, and what we discovered in this exercise, maybe the Heat can avoid the Herro for Beal question altogether.

Related Story. Ranking Miami's potential Beal trade packages. light