Haywood Highsmith opens up on ‘roller coaster’ free agency, return to Heat

Haywood Highsmith
Haywood Highsmith inked a two-year deal with the Miami Heat on Monday. (Mike Stewart/AP Photo)

Over a week after the start of free agency, forward Haywood Highsmith re-signed with the Miami Heat on Monday for two-years, $11 million. It was his first real opportunity as an unrestricted free agent after coming off a three-year, $3.9 million deal he signed midway through the 2021-22 season.

Highsmith opened up about the process Monday afternoon with Heat media, describing it as an “up-and-down roller coaster.”

“I think the contract I got now with the Heat, I’m really satisfied with it,” he said over a Zoom call on Monday to reporters, according to Zachary Weinberger of Clutch Points. “I think we still got more in the tank, for sure. So I’m just going to keep pushing. It’s been a bit of a journey, a bit of a process. I’m glad to be back.

“This is my first time being a real free agent, so we just took it day by day. There were multiple calls, multiple meetings, talking about different things. It’s been a process. It’s new rules with the CBA. So a lot of things are going on. It’s just been a process, an up and down roller-coaster. But the contract I’ve got now with the Heat, I’m satisfied with it.”

Highsmith was reportedly expected to potentially net eight figures annually in free agency, though the stiff market didn’t grant him that–as the Suns and Bucks reportedly offered minimum contracts. The Heat re-signed him using his bird rights–allowing them to ink him for any amount up to the max–more than double what the veteran minimum would’ve accommodated.

The 6-foot-5 wing will be on contract for the next two years at $5.3 and $5.7 million, respectively, without an option for either of the two seasons. He went undrafted out of Wheeling University, a Division-II program out of Wheeling, W. Va., spending time in the Philadelphia 76ers organization plus time in Germany (Crailsheim) before joining the Heat organization.

“The Heat have just invested in me and I appreciate them,” Highsmith said. “They took a chance on a Division II kid and I couldn’t be more grateful.

“I’m going to be myself. I’m not going to try to fill nobody’s shoes. I know the type of player I am in this league. I’m a defender, tough guy, can make open shots, make threes and I’m a good shooter and I’m going to play the right way, play hard and do whatever it takes to win.”

Highsmith, 27, will indeed have some shoes to fill with Caleb Martin departing to Philadelphia in free agency. He averaged career bests in scoring (6.1 ppg), rebounding (3.2), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.5) on 46.5 percent shooting, including a career-best 39.6 percent from 3-point range after having shot a combined 33.1 percent from deep over his previous 78 games in the league. On a per-75-possession basis, his averages mark out to 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 0.8 blocks.

He’s worked incredibly hard to get to where he’s at, but Miami need another very productive season from Highsmith on both ends of the floor to fill any ancillary production lost.

“I’m an elite defender. I work on my game a lot. You can see that I’ve put in a lot of work,” he said back in May, according to Michael Scotto of Hoopshype. “My 3-point percentage went up, and I had career-highs in points per game and shooting percentage. I feel like with my role in this league, I can be an elite 3-and-D player. But I’m not just limiting myself to that. I can also get to the cup, a floater, and different types of finishes, working the baseline with cuts while playing off the ball.”


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I think this is a good deal for both parties. The Heat get the Locksmith back, and he gets two more years at Spolestra University to audition for a bigger contract.

heat for life

Spolestra university lol Wonder if my gpa will get me in ..


If not, there’s always Cuba Gooding Jr. College.


Rozier, Herro, Butler and Bam played a grand total of 10 games together last year and the entire team was banged up requiring Spo to use 38 different line-ups. Nonetheless, the team still wound up 46-36 and only 4 games behind second place New York.

If the Terry, Tyler, Jimmy and Bam can stay relatively healthy, if Jovic, Jaquez and Highsmith can continue improving, if JRich, Love and Burks can provide steady support and Ware and Larsson are able to contribute significantly, can this team possibly squeeze another 4-5 or more wins out this year? Asking for a friend.


I think you make some solid points and ask a reasonable question. I’ll add if Bam moves to PF at times will that allow a change in the lineup that might add a little more pop or punch


Miami Heat Point Guard Terry Rozier Cleared From Neck Injury; Ready To ReturnGood news! Scary Terry back at 100%. That’s a good thing. Now if we can just get everybody else back healthy by training camp, we can see what we have.


heat for life

Thanks for signing back here bro.Please try to score a little more.U got it in your bag.Next contract will be alot more with more pts.I want 15pts a game from u.Hopefully tys excessive shots are shipped out of town


15 a game would be a huge jump in production. It would double last years ppg and be 5 more than his per 36, which is what he is projected to be, 10.7 ppg. He’s no Duncan or Tyler on offense. Take it easy 😉

heat for life

pts are based on # shots taken.if he takes as many as ty he’d be scoring 20ppg

Reality Czech

10-12 ppg, at least 36% 3p%, and his usual stout defense, would be great. We’ll have to see how minutes are distributed.
5 – Bam, Ware, Bryant
4 – Jovic, Love, Highsmith
3 – Butler, Jaquez, Highsmith
2 – Herro, Duncan, J Rich, Pelle
1 – Rozier, Burks, J Rich
Or something like that…

heat for life

I got ware starting.center(that will never happen)Same team as last year to short .to slow,6th-8 seed.PLAY bost phil ny adios.Pats fault did a sht job.Jimmys gone he wants a ring


The good news is you saved yourself a ton of time not needing to watch next season. We’ll miss ya


Slow down there buddy, I would expect 15 ppg on the bench from either jaquez or dunc, but not locksmith. First of all he won’t be a 6th or 7th man. Also it depends on how his minutes are distributed like Czech said. Also agree with the ppg he stated, but 9-12 is good enough for me with elite D and I want him shooting at least 7 3s a game. Lastly we’re not sure if he has gotten new moves in offensive arsenal. So far He has the 3 ball, the pj floater/hook/runner, and cutting. He needs to work on his handle some more, and develop a couple more go to go to moves and maybe a counter with consistent minutes before he can be a 15 ppg scorer.

heat for life

It a mindset to score.Hes got to try to score more .Hes got the tools.Seen him take it to hole.Hes so good defensively .Hes prob our 5th 6TH best player.Jim bam terry jaime —-

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