Cole Swider aims to be next Heat success story

Cole Swider
Cole Swider will be entering his third NBA season in 2024-25. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

From their development of Duncan Robinson to Caleb Martin to Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, you could argue that the Miami Heat are one of, if not the best developmental organizations in the NBA.

That’s not to mention Bam Adebayo, who developed into a generational defender and a top-5 big man in the NBA; Nikola Jovic, who the Heat selected No. 27 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, turned into a starting caliber wing with barely having played 60 career games; Haywood Highsmith, who spent the last two-and-a-half years in the Heat system, raised his 3-point percentage to 39.6 percent on relative volume and is looking to cash in this offseason.

I could go on and on. Miami knows how to develop as well as any organization.

Now, sharpshooter Cole Swider is looking to be the team’s next success story.

“I think the Heat, as you guys have seen with a lot of these undrafted guys, a lot of these two-way guys, have done a great job in the offseason developing them,” Swider said last month. “So I’m hoping to be able to be another one of those success stories. I know they know what they’re doing when it comes to developing guys. So I’m just going to dive head first and just get into that process.”

Swider, who just turned 25-years-old on May 8, will be entering his third NBA season next year. As an undrafted rookie in the 2022 NBA Draft, the 6-foot-9 sharpshooter joined the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent one season before signing a two-way contract with the Heat ahead of the 2023-24 season.

He appeared in 14 regular season games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Miami Heat’s G-League affiliate, in 2023-24. He averaged 24.9 points on 51.9 percent shooting, including an absurd 50.0 percent from 3-point range (9.4 3PA; 61.1 3PAr). His 3-point percentage was a G-League-best by over two percentage points–Stockton’s Mason Jones (Kings system) was the second-highest at 47.6 percent–amongst players who took at least 125 3-pointers.

In 21 combined G-League showcase and regular season games, he posted 24.5 points on 48.5/47.1/84.6 shooting splits, in addition to 7.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.8 steals in 38.3 minutes per game.

Swider believed he improved in multiple areas last season, though his improvement defensively could be the biggest swing factor for whether or not he gets substantial minutes at the NBA level–specifically in the Heat system.

Perhaps his biggest area of improvement came on the glass with his positioning and effort. Not to mention, he was on a team with several good rebounders–including Justin Champagnie (part of the year), Orlando Robinson (part of the year) and Malik Williams, who signed multiple contracts with the Toronto Raptors near the conclusion of the regular season.

The Skyforce was a top-7 rebounding team throughout the course of last year, and Swider’s improvements were a reason why.

“I think in training camp, I was figuring out the process of what’s it going to take for me to make it in this league,” Swider said. “I think seeing guys–with Duncan, Max and Gabe–and the success stories they’ve had, I think that first year is a big maturation process.”

Swider had a cup of coffee with the Heat last season, similar to Robinson and Vincent in previous years before getting real opportunities in the organization. He played just 87 total minutes across 18 games, scoring 42 points on 39.5 percent shooting (15-38) and 33.3 percent from deep (10-30). He also totaled seven rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.

There’s no telling whether or not Swider will be on a two-way contract by the time the start of the 2024-25 season begins. Players on two-way contracts don’t count against the salary cap or luxury tax, and each team is allotted three of those players. They make half the rookie minimum, which is projected to be roughly $580K this upcoming season.

Though Cole Swider appears eager to develop even more as a player heading into the next season, should he be brought back.

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SunManFromDogBone

Very interesting latest mock draft. Edey going #12 to OKC makes sense. 19.4 year old Rob Dillingham to Miami at #15 and 23.9 year old Terrence Shannon at #43…not so much.
https://nbadraft.theringer.com/mock-draft

SunManFromDogBone

After listening to this conversation, because of the hard cap, it is apparent Miami will need to unload Butler’s salary this offseason in order to move forward. If the 76ers are willing to provide draft picks and cap relief, Miami should go for it and look to trade the picks, plus Herro and other assets, for younger, two-way players. Any way you look at it, Miami needs to reload/rebuild around Bam.

https://youtu.be/r6czvta6tH8?si=M-Hg69fkK1Rfyi7k

oregoner

not gonna happen. Pat Riley does not trade players for draft picks and cap relief

SunManFromDogBone

I’m not speculating what Riley will do. I’m suggesting what he could do.

oregoner

I like Swider. But I’m riding with Cain

Reality Czech

I give you a yes here, but ⬇️

oregoner

lol. fair enough.

ZechMerquise

Pelicans unlikely to max Brandon Ingram. Sixers interested with Jimmy. So how about

heat gets : brandon ingram (we max him, 4yrs 208 mil)
sixers gets : jimmy
pelicans gets : whatever we get for jimmy

id rather max Ingram than Jimmy at this point

Reality Czech

Not for me. I like Ingram, but certainly not as a replacement for Butler, not as a straight up swap, and definitely not on a max contract. He has missed 25 games a season on average each of the last seven seasons.

HHHFAN4Life

Just as injury prone as herro no thank you

Reality Czech

The word for this offseason – availability…

SunManFromDogBone

Nope. Heat can do much better.

oregoner

I’m in. It’s not necessarily my A1 option, but I would rather swap Jimmy for Ingram than run it back with the same team as last year

Reality Czech

….a no here! 😆

oregoner

lol. so are you okay with keeping Jimmy and just improving around the margins?

HHHFAN4Life

Absolutely idiotic if they do that. Him and sunman think adding Edey fixes this teams many problems when he won’t. They seem to think a rookie with no nba experience is gonna help them win now. JJJ gonna be a good player but how much did he help them win this year?

Reality Czech

SunMan has been one of the earliest advocates for trading Butler. But we need to be prepared for the possibility that Butler remains on the roster. Then it boils down to what moves could the team make to stay competitive. If (BIG IF) Butler takes the regular season seriously and stays healthy, a nucleus of Bam, Butler, Rozier, and #15 pick is a good start, depending on who fills the other spots.

HHHFAN4Life

I am prepared if Jimmy stays, if Jimmy is here next year and beyond Mia will be where it’s been the last two regular seasons in the playin and pick in the teens again.

“I think the 19-20 season was the best. The aggression on defense jumped off the screen. And it was contagious. The whole team was jumping passing lanes and hounding ballhandlers.”

From the 5 best Jimmy seasons article
Oregoner

To piggy back off this statement: it’s because the team takes on the personality of its best player/leader. These last 2 seasons Mia has half assed, come out flat, lost to teams they should beat and have been one of if not the most injured team in the league. Why do y’all think that is? Bad luck? Injury bug? Or are they following the leader which is actually the reason.

Some need to be prepared for the possibility of Jimmy not being here next year as well right?

Last edited 16 days ago by HHHFAN4Life
Reality Czech

True true and true. I’ve got a whole list of possibilities if Butler is traded, hopefully to a Western Conference team.

oregoner

hey hey! I love it when people quote me accurately!

yes, you’re right. I don’t think anyone is going to argue this point with you. Obviously, Jimmy Butler age 35+ is not as good a player as Jimmy Butler age 29-32.

and I agree with your second point also. A team takes on the personality of it’s best player/leader. And I think Pat Riley made it clear that he considers Bam to be the best player/leader of this team.

So now we’re just talking about who should be the second and third best players on this team. Maybe that will be Jimmy Butler and one other player added via trade. Or maybe that person will be someone added via trade plus one of the guys on the current roster, like JJJ or Herro.

So the two questions are (1) do we want to keep Jimmy Buckets as the third best player and trade a bunch of young guys for a second best player? Or (2) do we want to trade Jimmy for a second best player and hope one of the young guys develop into a third best player?

vagibugi

Of course not. Miami has a lot of problems and the first one is scoring. After that is length, athleticism, then comes skills etc.

At the end of the day, we just need better players. Rookies cant help
much at the highest level.

Reality Czech

No. If you’ve followed my comments, I believe the best course of action is to trade Butler. I just don’t see Riley doing that unless Butler demands the extension or trade. I’m pretty sure Riley is going to stick to his ‘show me’ approach. The other possibility that I hope doesn’t happen is they negotiate a lower extension amount.

oregoner

So yeah, I think this is the tipping point of the conversation. That was definitely the lesson from last offseason. Even if a player wants to go to the Heat and the Heat are willing to trade assets, no superstar is guaranteed. If you think the best course of action is to trade Butler, then you might have to settle for an imperfect player like Ingram or Zach LaVine.

vagibugi

Nah. 35 old Jimmy is still a better player here. But none of them deserves max.

SunManFromDogBone

The following 7 players are under contract in 2024-2025:
Bam, Butler, Herro, Rozier, DRobinson, Jaquez, Jovic

The following 4 players have player options in 2024-2025:
Martin, Love, Richardson, Bryant

  • Martin & Richardson are likely to opt out/sign elsewhere

The following player has a team option in 2024-2025:
ORobinson

  • Miami is likely to fully guarantee his contract for 2024-2025

The following 6 players are free agents:
Highsmith, Wright, Mills, Cain, Swider, Williams

  • Miami is unlikely to re-sign Highsmith, Wright or Mills
  • Miami is likely to offer two-way contracts to Cain, Swider and Williams


Key dates for offseason

June 24 or earlier (day after last NBA Finals game):

  • Teams can begin negotiating contracts with own free agents

June 26-27:

  • NBA Draft

June 29:

  • Last day for team, player and early termination options

June 30:

  • Last official day of the 2023/24 NBA league year.
  • Last day for players eligible for veteran extensions in 2023/24 to sign them.
  • Teams can begin negotiating with outside free agents (5:00 pm CT).

July 1:

  • Official start of the 2024/25 NBA league year.
  • Moratorium period begins.
  • Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet.
  • Teams can begin signing players to one- or two-year minimum-salary contracts.
  • Teams can begin signing players to two-way contracts.
  • Teams can begin signing first-round picks to rookie scale contracts.
  • Teams can begin signing second-round picks using the second-round pick exception.
  • Teams can begin exercising the third- or fourth-year team options for 2025/26 on rookie scale contracts.

July 6:

  • Moratorium period ends (11:01 am CT).
  • Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades (11:01 am CT).
  • The 24-hour period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins (11:01 am CT).

July 12-22:

  • Las Vegas Summer League.

July 13:

  • Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

July 27:

  • Start of 2024 Olympics in Paris.

July 31:

  • Players signed using the second-round pick exception begin to count against a team’s cap.

August 5:

  • Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks.

August 10:

  • Gold and bronze medal games at the Paris Olympics.

August 31:

  • Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2024/25 salaries.

September 27:

  • Training camps open for teams playing exhibition games outside North America.
Reality Czech

I don’t think Richardson opts out, and I’d hope Wright is offered the vet’s minimum. He played well in his stint here. I hope that at least one of the 2 way players gets a 2 year minimum contract.
Let the games begin!
Let’s go Heat!

2qbn

I agree Jrich doesn’t opt out. He just had an injury plagued season. Not only that, but he likes it here and as long as Jimmy and Bam are on the team they have a chance.

I think Wright stays too.

Swider still needs some work, but he does bring an important skill, which is what you need to make the team.

SunManFromDogBone

I hope JRich and Wright both stay and that Bryant doesn’t. However, I think both may be offered more than minimum based on how well they played last season. Teams like Philly are going to have a bunch of cheap spots to fill. I think Duncan can be replaced by Swider at some point.

What is interesting is if the core team is brought back, including Love, JRich, Wright and the G leaguers, and Miami drafts Edey and he is able to start next to Bam, that is a pretty good team.

Rozier, Herro, Butler, Bam, Edey
J Rich, Duncan, Jaquez, Jovic, Love
Wright, Williams, Swider, Cain, ORob, (plus 43rd pick)

Last edited 17 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
HHHFAN4Life

Playin team again

SunManFromDogBone

Just tryin to remain positive if Riley decides to “STAND PAT.” If everyone stays healthy might be able to squeeze into #6 slot then get mugged in the first round.

oregoner

that’s not Riley’s style

ZechMerquise

im probably in the minority, but i think Edey’s game will not translate into the nba. I think he’s too slow, his ceiling will probably be Gobert and thats being generous. I think better for the heat to package that pick, or if they need to use it, use it for someone else. Tyler Smith from g-league ignite looks interesting

SunManFromDogBone

I see Edey as more of a Yao Ming/Valanciunas combo. If it were any other team I would agree with you. However, playing with Bam, I think they compliment each other. Edey is strong where Bam is not…height, blocks, interior defense and scoring against bigger centers.

Bam is athletic enough to do what he has been doing without having to commit to always banging with the big boys or trying to defend them in the paint.

As a PF, Bam can be unleqashed on both sides of the ball. If Miami doesn’t draft Edey, there are several teams right behind them in the draft that may, including 76ers, Raptors, Lakers, Pelicans, Bucks or Knicks.

Reality Czech

I’ve seen mocks that have him going to the Bucks. I would hate to see that. Giannis, Lopez, Edey, Portis.

Big_guy305

I rather ware or Carter over edey tbh.

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