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James Harden Trade Rumors: Heat Have Interest, Tyler Herro Not 'Untouchable'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2020

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) signals to the offense during the second half of an NBA first-round playoff basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

If the Houston Rockets decide to trade perennial All-Star guard James Harden, they reportedly may have a suitor in the Miami Heat.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, there is mutual interest between Harden and the Heat, and Miami does not consider second-year guard Tyler Herro to be untouchable in a potential trade for Harden.

Jackson noted that Harden has named the Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers as teams he would accept a trade to.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported last month that Harden turned down a contract extension offer from the Rockets that would have raised his pay to $50 million per year. Harden was also reportedly focused on a trade to Brooklyn to play alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Harden's reported interest in the Sixers makes sense as well since longtime Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is now in charge of basketball operations in Philadelphia.

The Nets may not have the assets needed to acquire Harden, nor do the 76ers unless they are willing to part with guard Ben Simmons or center Joel Embiid in the deal.

While Harden wants a trade and reported late to training camp, the Rockets don't necessarily have to be in a hurry to trade him since he is under contract for two more seasons.

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A trade with the Heat could appeal more to the Rockets than the Nets or Sixers, especially if Miami is willing to part with Herro.

The Heat took Herro 13th overall in last year's draft out of Kentucky, and he enjoyed a strong rookie year with 13.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.1 three-pointers made per game. He also shot 42.8 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Herro raised his level of play during the postseason as well, averaging 16.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 three-pointers made per game, as the Heat made it all the way to the NBA Finals.

Trading a budding star like Herro may not be ideal, but if the Heat can put together a package headlined by Herro while holding on to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, they could have a new Big Three with a trio of All-Stars.

Harden is arguably the best offensive player in the league, as he has averaged over 30 points per game and won the scoring title in each of the past three seasons.

He is also an eight-time All-Star and one-time NBA MVP who would conceivably lift the Heat to another level.

If the Rockets keep Harden for now, they will enter the 2020-21 season with an intriguing mix of players headlined by Harden, the newly acquired John Wall, free-agent signings Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins, and holdovers such as P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore and Danuel House Jr.

The Rockets have the talent needed to be a contender in the Western Conference, but Harden's uncertain future could be an issue and a distraction until they trade him.

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