The team had until July 15 to guarantee his upcoming salary.
The Miami Heat have officially guaranteed Haywood Highsmith’s contract for the 2023-24 season, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report Thursday.
The team had until July 15 whether or not to guarantee his 2023-24 salary, worth $1.9 million. Highsmith, 26, averaged 4.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.9 minutes last season, shooting 43.1 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent from 3-point range.
In 26 career playoff games, Highsmith recorded 69 career points on 58.7 percent shooting in 192 total minutes, including 60 points in 161 minutes during this most recent NBA Finals run.
He will be entering the final year of a two-year minimum contract he signed ahead of the 2022-23 season. He will be eligible to become a restricted free agent next season with a qualifying offer worth $2.4 million. If Highsmith hypothetically signed said offer, he would become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024-25 season.
Offensively, Highsmith is an improving spot-up shooter and a threat around the rim; last season, he was a 34.0 percent catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter (35-103). He was also one of Miami’s best offensive rebounders, where he used his very good instincts and 7-foot-wingspan to his advantage, finishing in the 79th percentile among 300 rotation players in offensive rebounds per 75 possessions, per Basketball Index.
He also uses those advantages on the perimeter defensively, which helps him become very switchable; additionally, Miami’s “locksmith” possesses good foot speed, dexterity and screen navigation. Highsmith’s oftentimes tasked with defending (one of) the opposition’s best wings (when he’s on the floor), but can switch and hold his own against smaller guards.
Now, he returns as one of Miami’s most versatile defenders, alongside Bam Adebayo (duh), Jimmy Butler and newly-signed Josh Richardson, who signed a two-year minimum on the first day of free agency.
The Heat now officially have 13 players on contract with $178.1 in active cap—roughly $12.9 million above the $165.294 luxury tax threshold and $4.6 million below the vaunted $182.794 million second apron.
In 78 career games, Highsmith has averaged 3.7 points and 2.8 rebounds on 41.5 percent shooting, including 33.1 percent from beyond the arc. He was a part of the Philadelphia 76ers organization before his time with Heat.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.