The Heat reportedly pulled out of James Harden trade talks with the Rockets. That doesn’t mean Miami no longer wants Harden. The Heat just deemed Houston’s asking price to be too high.
What is that asking price?
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Tyler Herro makes sense as the centerpiece of a Harden trade. Herro is just 20, under team control for several more years and coming off a dazzling postseason.
But Herro’s history of star-level play is short. Harden is a perennial MVP candidate still locked in nearly two more seasons. The Rockets should demand far more.
Duncan Robinson nudges the package in the right direction. But he’s still just a role player who’ll get a huge raise in restricted free agency next summer.
Robinson’s awesome 3-point shooting would also make him a nice fit with Harden, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in Miami. The Heat probably don’t want to part with Robinson.
Of course, getting a superstar like Harden would require sacrifice. Miami probably won’t trade Butler or Adebayo. But the Heat – by removing lottery protections on the 2023 first-rounder they owe the Thunder – could send 2025 and 2027 first-rounders to Houston. Miami could also include Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala.
It seems there’s a fair deal to strike – unless a team like the 76ers (Ben Simmons) or Celtics (Jaylen Brown) offers a player more-valuable than Herro. But at some point, Houston might have to lower its asking price. Or the Heat could increase their offer. There’s a large middle ground available for a trade.
For now, the Rockets remain in a holding pattern.