Burning Questions: Should the Heat bring Tyler Herro off the bench?

Plus, should the Heat trade for Zach LaVine or Alex Caruso? And why isn't Nikola Jovic playing more?
Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages
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Should the Heat trade for one of the Chicago Bulls guards?

Here are the average stats for two players over the last two-plus seasons, each one denoted by his age and current salary:

28-years-old, $40 million: 24.4 points on 47.5% shooting (37.8% on 3s), 4.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 0.8 steals in 35.4 minutes

23-years-old, $27 million: 20.5 points on 44.3% shooting (38.9% on 3s), 5.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.8 steals in 33.8 minutes

You already know which one is which, but that's a cute way of comparing both players' production along with their age and contract. Zach LaVine, the more expensive 28-year-old, is also due $45 million more over the next three seasons. Adding LaVine to a roster with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo would bloat the payroll to near-Warriors and Clippers amounts.

Considering the cost, age and trajectory of both players, the minor upgrade of Herro to LaVine isn't worth the squeez.

But let's talk about Alex Caruso. If I'm the Heat, that's the guy I'm having a meeting about.

Caruso is making $9.46 million this season and $9.89 million (partially guaranteed) next season. He's a young 29 (entered the league at 23) and has shot 37% from 3-point range over the last four seasons. Most importantly, he might be the best defensive guard in the NBA. When Pat Riley talks about players with "shields and swords," he's talking about cats like Caruso.

So how can they get him?

I've seen it bandied about that the Heat could use their trade exception to absorb Caruso's contract without sending a player out. False. Yes, when you round the contract and exception, you get $4.5 million. But move the decimal one spot over, and the glove doesn't fit. Caruso's salary is $9,460,000. The exception (created by trading Victor Oladipo to the Thunder this past summer)? $9,450,000.


Trade exceptions cannot by combined with other exceptions or salaries in a deal, so this is a no-go. Instead, the Heat will have to do it the old-fashioned way by trading players. The Heat can match salary by sending out Caleb Martin and Nikola Jovic. That's a tall price for the Heat and still might not be enough for the Bulls, assuming that they'd be more interested in draft picks. Would the Heat throw in a future first-round pick? That could be enough, but every fanbase wants their hands on Caruso. Expect their to be a bidding war if Chicago makes him available.

For the record, I'd probably do it. Caruso is as clean as fit at the point guard spot as they come, and trading a backup wing who will likely leave in free agency and a prospect that doesn't play, plus a first-round pick, is worth it to maximize this window. Caruso is under contract for another season, has championship experience and can defend the likes of Damian Lillard, Tyrese Maxey and Jrue Holiday in a playoff series. If I'm the Heat, he's at the top of my list, ahead of LaVine.

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