Tyler Herro’s $130 million extension could spell disaster for Bulls

Tyler Herro, Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Tyler Herro, Coby White, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Entering the 2022 offseason as arguably the best player available in free agency, Zach LaVine took his time ensuring that he’d extract every penny of his $215 million contract extension which became the largest in Chicago Bulls history. He wouldn’t be the only two guard to earn generational wealth this summer, as Tyler Herro has decided to re-up with the Miami Heat on an exorbitant new contract.

Set to earn up to $130 million over the course of this new deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news of Herro’s surprising extension, with his colleague Bobby Marks breaking down the official contract details.

Although Herro’s extension was certainly the largest of the bunch, Miami’s sixth man wasn’t the only player to receive a massive pile of cash this summer. Jalen Brunson ($104 million), Anfernee Simons ($100 million), and Collin Sexton ($71 million), all headline a summer in which we saw several one-dimensional score-first guards get paid like perennial All-Stars.

Tyler Herro’s $130 million extension will soon put the Chicago Bulls in a tricky situation.

In retrospect, this makes Chicago’s three-year, $82 million signing of DeMar DeRozan look great, and Zach LaVine’s, four-year, $78 million deal back in 2018 look like a highway robbery — although many critics thought it to be an overpay at the time. Herro’s contract may not be able to change the past, but it could very well change the future for these Chicago Bulls.

With Coby White set to enter restricted free agency at the end of this season, he’ll definitely be looking to play as well as possible in order to ensure a big payday like his peers. I don’t believe he’s done enough in the NBA just yet to justify being in that tier of players, but you never know what another year may bring.

After all, just take a look at how evenly Coby stacked up to Herro after their sophomore seasons in 2020-21:

  • Coby White:  15.1 PTS, 4.1 REB, 4.8 AST, 41.6 FG%, 35.9 3P%, 90.1 FT%
  • Tyler Herro: 15.1 PTS, 5.0 REB, 3.4 AST, 43.9 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 80.3 FT%

Herro certainly still has the edge here, especially when you look at the advanced metrics, but just how big of a gap exists between these two players is certainly a debate worth having. We’ve seen Joe Harris, Duncan Robinson, and Evan Fournier recently receive huge contracts for their 3-point shooting ability alone, it’s not unrealistic to think Coby could command $80 million or more in free agency if he performs well this season.

With Nikola Vucevic, Ayo Dosunmu, and Javonte Green all set to hit free agency this summer, I’m not confident that Chicago can commit that much salary to White with so many other key contributors also needing to get paid. After intentionally ducking the luxury tax this offseason, it’s not like the Bulls are inspiring much confidence in their ability to foot a hefty bill, either.

It almost seems like the Bulls are staring down the barrel of a lose-lose situation here. If Coby plays poorly next season, he won’t be worth retaining in the first place. But if he breaks out, Chicago may still be forced to move on from him simply due to a lack of financial flexibility. The Chicago Bulls aren’t alone in this predicament, as the Warriors and 76ers will likely face the same problem in regards to re-signing Jordan Poole and Tyrese Maxey, respectively.

Before so many other score-first guards received these tremendous contracts, extending Coby may have not even been near the top of the front office’s to-do list. Now, it just feels like an impending nightmare looming overhead.

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