Haywood Highsmith signs two-year, $11 million deal with Heat

Haywood Highsmith
Haywood Highsmith will have a first-year salary that will begin at roughly $5.3 million. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Haywood Highsmith has returned to the Miami Heat on a deal worth $11 million over two seasons, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report Monday.

Ahead of free agency, it was reported by HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that Highsmith would have stiff competition on the free agent market–potentially bumping his salary to eight figures annually.

That ultimately wasn’t the case, as Highsmith’s market appeared more dry with Milwaukee and Phoenix reportedly offering minimum deals, per Heat reporter and insider Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Highsmith’s new contract will begin at around $5.3 million, putting Miami roughly $1.6 million below the $188.9 million second apron. He signed using his bird rights, according to Anthony Chiang of the Herald.

They are still technically eligible to use their $5.2 million taxpayer mid-level exception. However, they are way too close to the second apron and would be hard-capped at the apron by using any portion of it.

The 6-foot-5 forward is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds on 46.5 percent shooting and 39.6 percent from 3-point range. He was one of the team’s best point-of-attack defenders, though he was also good off-ball at generating deflections and filling in the gaps with his lanky 7-foot wingspan.

He was adamant on multiple occasions about returning to Miami, highlighting that he grew up as a player in the city where his family resides. After Caleb Martin’s departure, it’s encouraging that Highsmith is now back on an inexpensive contract–which won’t have an option attached to it.

Miami lacked point-of-attack defense without Highsmith–and it still does–but the gap is closer than it was, say, two hours ago.

It now has 14 standard contracts on its roster. By being only $1.6 million away from the second apron, it can only sign rookies to the minimum with its last roster spot during the offseason before contracts begin to prorate, if it chooses to do so.

The Heat cannot convert Dru Smith (two-way) or sign either one of Cole Swider or Alondes Williams–who both have pending qualifying offers–to standard deals unless it’s mid-way through the season.

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Reality Czech

3:
”That does not mean the Heat cannot reshape their roster, it just means the free-agency door effectively stands shut at the moment, with a trade the remaining option to alter the current alignment.
But even then, with the Heat operating more than $9 million above the first luxury-tax apron, the Heat cannot send out a single more dollar in salary in a trade than they take back, one of the many elements of being a team operating in the first level of the tax aprons”

Talk about punitive!

oregoner

I think this entire offseason has been about maintaining cap flexibility. If they don’t make a trade, they’ll go into next offseason with Butler’s option and a hundred million dollars in expiring contracts.

The Heat went to the Finals or Conference Finals 3 times in the past 5 years. I think they have to take their medicine this offseason and be back in the free-agent game in a year or two.

But you know what I think, same as every offseason. They lose the offseason, but they’ll win the postseason.

Reality Czech

2:
For the Heat, based on the current composition of their roster, it means to avoid moving into that painful second tax apron they:
—Cannot currently add another player to the list of 14 already under contract for 2024-25: Highsmith, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson, Kevin Love, Alec Burks, Josh Richardson, Thomas Bryant and draft picks Kel’el Ware and Pelle Larsson.
— Cannot bring back from their 2023-24 roster free agents Jamal Cain or Patty Mills.
— Would have to wait until midseason to add a 15th player under standard contract — the regular-season maximum — for the prorated share of such a contract to fall within their remaining space below the second apron.
— Will be unable to match should an outside team extend an offer to Cole Swider or Alondes Williams, with both currently under qualifying offers from last season’s two-way contracts.”

Reality Czech

Some excerpts from Ira’s column concerning the way the aprons work. It’s not encouraging. 1:
With 14 players under contract for next season, the Heat stand roughly $1.1 million short of the second tax apron, a payroll level where teams are not allowed to aggregate players in trade (i.e., a two-for-one deal), cannot utilize any salary-cap exceptions other than sign players at the league minimum, and face future severe potential draft-pick penalties, including being moved to the end of the first-round of a future draft regardless of order of finish.”

SunManFromDogBone

If Miami signs 3-point specialist Cole Swider to a minimum contract using the 15th spot on the roster (in order to keep another team from stealing him, if nothing else) here’s what I think their depth chart looks like today. This rotation projection is subject to change, based on several factors including player performances during Summer League, Olympics, Training Camp, Preseason games and as the result of potential personnel changes due to trades.

Rozier, Herro, Butler, Jovic, Bam
JRich, Duncan, Jaquez, Highsmith, Love
Larsson, Burks, Swider, Bryant, Ware

I can easily see Ware as the back-up and eventually as the starting Center and Bam as the PF down the road. I can also see Jovic as the back-up PF and Butler, Herro, Duncan and/or others being traded before the February deadline. Time will tell.

GO HEAT!!!

vagibugi

This looks like a solid team.

But Herro and dunc can exchange places.

I also see a fierce fight for backup center/pf position between, Bryant, Ware and Love.

SunManFromDogBone

Love is a better player. Bryant is insurance and expendable in the event of a trade.

Ware will be getting “coached up” while he is hitting the weight room and incrementally getting his feet wet in real NBA situations. I can see Ware getting spot playing opportunities as back-up center and alongside Bam until he develops the confidence, skills and bulk to start as C with Bam at PF. At that point, I see Jovic as back-up PF and Love as back-up center.

Where I see traffic jams are at the SG, SF and PF positions. Too many players and not nearly enough playing time. Something has to give e.g., a trade.

Here’s my very rough estimate of playing time for the current roster to start the season. I realize the actual numbers will be different.

TOTAL MINUTES PER GAME 240
Bam: 30
Butler: 30
Rozier: 30
Herro: 30
Jovic: 20
Jaquez: 20
Jrich: 15
Robinson: 15
Highsmith: 15
Love: 10
Ware: 10
Burkes: 10
Larsson: 0
Bryant: 0

If Jovic, Jaquez or Highsmith show marked improvement in the 2024-2025 season, I think it will make Butler expendable in a mid-season trade at the deadline or a sign and trade after the season. In addition, Herro and Robinson are not both needed and either may be traded at any time, if the right situation comes along.

Alien

Training camp should be fun to see what the new mix will look like.

oregoner

Well, this puts the Heat at the cusp of the second apron, so this is probably the last move of the offseason. Unless there is a trade on the way…

ZechMerquise

huge signing. Our defense would have suffered tremendously if both Highsmith and Caleb leave the team

Alien

Agree.
Why I give kudos to Arison. He could have picked a vet for $2.2M.

Reality Czech

With 14 players now under contract and how close they are to the second apron, the Heat will not fill the 15th spot. The only way to add a player now is to subtract a player or two.

Alien

Tough.

heat for life

HEY nba anybody need a herro

Alien

A heart warming news! Thanks HH and Arison for making it happen.

Now the Heat have to stick to the script.

Go for your needs not your wants.

There is a need to get another good defender to replace Martin.

There are going to be names dropping here and there.

Heat should resist every temptation and pressure to go for fans’ favorites but go for a good defensive player who can also knock down some 3 or has the potentials to adjust his game.

Last edited 4 days ago by Alien
Reality Czech

I think I’ve said this each year (and been wrong 😆), but I’ll say it again. I really think another move is coming, that they are working the phones to see if there is any deal that would be a better fit.

oregoner

I say this every year (and I’m usually right), the other teams can win the offseason, the Heat will win in the postseason

Bout30man

But, only once in a while. How they did so well in 22 is still remarkable. But, in retrospect, that was a better team than this one will be if there are no upgrades from here. Biggest difference is a superstar named Jimmy. I am afraid Father Time has taken its toll and he needs more support now. But otherwise, Kyle, a little bit of VO, a little DD, Caleb, Gabe, and Max are no better than Ware, JJ, Alex, JRich and a healthy Terry. But, It’s actually more that Philly, Boston and NY are much better now than back then. .

Last edited 4 days ago by Bout30man
heat for life

Uhit on it 30 phily ny boston way way better.heat is worse because father time has gotten jimmyThat milw playoff series was jimmy at his best.He was jumping out of the roof and killing it.That player no longer exists.Legs got the ft disease

Bout30man

And I left out HH. Other than Jimmy, this lineup is at least as good as 22. But, only Milwaukee got maybe a little worse. Cleveland and Orlando are better too. But, the major improvements are with Boston, Philly, and NY.

2qbn

Philly has to prove that Embiid and PG can be healthy for a playoff run. Until I see it I don’t believe it.

NY has a deep roster, but with some injury prone guys like OG and Randle, combined with Tibs griding them down, I too think health could be an issue, but I would not argue if some want to put them in the ECF.

Boston is still the one and I think our team has this great mindset when we play them fully healthy or almost fully healthy. Not banged the eff up.

Magic and Cavs are still missing some playoff grit. Now this could be the year for them, but we’ll see.

SunManFromDogBone

Congratulations Haywood! Welcome back! You deserve it!

Question:
Does the team have enough money left to sign Swider to a minimum contract for 2-3 years? If not…”Houston we have a problem.”

Last edited 4 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
2qbn

The season rests on Swider’s shoulders? Poor guy.

SunManFromDogBone

I would rather have him as insurance coming off the Heat bench when quick points are needed than off the 76’ers bench dropping 3’s on our heads. How about you? His availabilty gives Riley the option to trade Duncan, if a good deal becomes available. Managing a team’s roster and payroll is a game of chess… not checkers.

Last edited 4 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
2qbn

I like the guy but so far the idea of Swider is better than the actual player. We still have plenty of summer league games to see how he progresses.

Regarding roster, I thin they lack a backup PG. So I would prefer to go that route than use it on a guy who might play once in a blue moon.

SunManFromDogBone

In case you forgot, Dru Smith recently signed a 2 year, $3,922,462  contract with the Heat, including $1,801,769 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $1,961,231. In 2024-25, Smith will earn a base salary of $2,120,693, while carrying a cap hit of $2,120,693. million.

Miami should the remaining $1.6 to extend a contract to Swider before they lose him. Dude shot 50% from 3 last year in G League. He’s a pure gunner.

Last edited 4 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
2qbn

I know they did but he’s coming off an injury. Right now I have zero confidence he can do the job, especially for a full season. That is my concern and why I hope they sign a backup PG.

If not, go get Bey if healthy.

SunManFromDogBone

Miami is $1,127,011 from the second apron. The NBA Minimum Contract amount is $1,160,544.

SunManFromDogBone

Just checked minimum contract amount. Heat has barely enough to sign Swider. Better do it today!!! This will be critical, especially if they wind up trading Herro and/or Robinson.

Last edited 4 days ago by SunManFromDogBone
Alien

Agree.

vagibugi

So thats about it this summer.

Martin, Cain, Robinson Mills gone, Burks and two rookies the only additions.

Bout30man

So far. It’s amazing how hard it is to trade Herro or Robinson. They are good players whose only drawbacks are they are both overpaid. I guess we are limited to the other teams who are stuck with bad contracts too. Hopefully they have players to trade who fit our needs better, and one of the afore mentioned two players fits the other teams needs better. Maybe a player who is owed a lot but who is getting old or who may walk for nothing if the other team waits. It’s not ideal but it’s still possible.

Last edited 4 days ago by Bout30man
heat for life

only drawbacks pay.do u watch them play d 30

Bout30man

I do. They aren’t valueless, they both contribute a lot offensively, and if you keep only one of them on the court at a time, they do fine. I do agree we need to trade one, preferably Herro, if for no other reason, to free up contract space.

Last edited 4 days ago by Bout30man
2qbn

This thought that every good team is filled with guys who can play D is hilarious. Every team has a lineup that goes on the court if the team needs a spark or send shooters out when there is one play to run down 2 or 3. Just like there is a defensive lineup coaches play to end or ice a game. You need a little bit of everything. De todo un poco

Alien

I am looking forward to training camp with all the newbies.

vagibugi

Good news.

Bout30man

Well well, good news, all right! HH is going to help. He is essential to us on defense. And he may continue to grow even more than he already has offensively. We do still need more, as it’s an arms race in the East, and hopefully we will get it. But, for now, this is a good day. And maybe having this cleared up will allow us to concentrate on what we can do with what we have left.

Last edited 4 days ago by Bout30man
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