Tyler Herro on returning to Heat after Damian Lillard trade rumors: ‘I’m glad Portland didn’t want me’

If rumors were to be believed this past offseason, Tyler Herro looked a little like the odd man out.

Yet now, with trade talks surrounding Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard behind him, Herro is incredibly happy that he didn’t have to move to the complete other side of the country.

Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks last month as part of a three-team deal with the Phoenix Suns after he had requested a trade out of Portland. When making that request, however, LIllard made it more than clear that the Miami Heat were the only team he wanted to play for. His representatives even tried to scare off other teams from pursuing him.

While Lillard pairing up with Jimmy Butler would have been fun, such a deal never came together. Herro was almost always the centerpiece of those trade talks, too, but the reported offers that the Heat had made Portland weren’t good enough to get the deal done.

From a basketball standpoint, the Heat are in a much better position than the Trail Blazers are. The Heat are fresh off a largely surprising run to the NBA Finals, while the Trail Blazers missed the playoffs for a second straight season last year and are seemingly in a rebuilding mode. From a logistical standpoint, South Beach is about as opposite from Portland, Oregon, as you can get in the United States.

Either way, Herro now gets to run it back with the Heat for his fifth season in the league this fall — especially after the former Sixth Man of the Year broke his hand late last season in the playoffs.

“I’m just happy to be on the court,” Herro said Monday. “I haven’t played since April. I broke my hand and I haven’t played since then, so I’m ready to play.”

Tyler Herro was right in the middle of the Damian Lillard to the Miami Heat trade rumors this offseason.

Tyler Herro was right in the middle of the Damian Lillard to the Miami Heat trade rumors this offseason. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images) (Stacy Revere via Getty Images)

Herro averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists last season while shooting almost 38% from behind the arc in his first season as a starter in the league. As for why his stock appeared to go down this summer, the 23-year-old has no idea. He’s just not buying into it — especially when it comes to the narrative that his absence helped boost the Heat’s postseason run.

“I mean, I don’t really know what’s changed,” Herro said. “I got hurt and obviously we went on a run. So I don’t know if that changed people’s perspectives on the way that I play or my value. Nothing’s changed. I haven’t gotten any worse. I’ve only gotten better, older, more experienced.

“And our team didn’t get better without me, we just started shooting better and making shots. We didn’t make shots all year, and I’m the best shooter on the team. So I don’t think me sitting out affected our shooting percentage. I think we just started making shots.”

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