Heat Promote Dru Smith To Standard Contract, Convert Cole Swider To Two-Way

The Heat have signed guard Dru Smith to a multi-year standard NBA contract and converted sharpshooting forward Cole Swider to a two-way deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In a subsequent move, the team waived both forward Cheick Diallo and wing Justin Champagnie, who were both on Exhibit 10 contracts.

Smith, 25, has been in the Heat’s developmental system since signing a training camp deal in 2021. He spent that year playing with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, before once again signing a camp deal with the Heat in 2022. At the conclusion of 2022’s training camp, Smith signed a two-way contract with the team.

At the beginning of the 2022/23 season, the Heat alternated between Orlando Robinson and Smith on two-way deals, with Jamal Cain on the other, swapping the pair out a handful of times. Smith then wound up signing with the Nets on a two-way before rejoining Miami this free agency period. He holds career averages of 2.9 points and 1.5 assists in 15 career NBA games.

Now, Smith is rewarded with a multi-year standard contract which has a $425K opening-night guarantee, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). It’s a similar structure to the contract Robinson wound up getting from Miami, with a July trigger date in its second year, tweets HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. The Heat were only able to sign Smith to a minimum-salary deal due to their proximity to the tax aprons.

Smith had a solid preseason, averaging 6.5 points and 5.3 assists in four games. Head coach Erik Spoelstra praised his during training camp and the Heat appreciated his ability to run the floor, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Smith and Kyle Lowry are the only true point guards on Miami’s roster.

It’s interesting to see Miami opt for Smith over Cain for the 14th roster spot, which he had been hoping to get, according to Jackson. Cain averaged 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in four preseason games. However, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) observes, keeping Cain on a two-way may make it easier for the Heat to keep him in their system going forward because they may opt to switch out the 14th roster spot during the season.

Swider is another player who earned plenty of buzz during training camp and the preseason. He opened the preseason with a 17-point performance while knocking down five three-pointers. Swider, who spent last season on a two-way deal with the Lakers before being waived this summer, averaged 11.2 points and knocked down 37.1% of his three-pointers (7.0 attempts) across five appearances in the preseason. The 6’9″ forward shot 43.6% from deep in 27 regular season G League games last year.

Swider is hoping to follow in Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson‘s footsteps by being frontcourt shooter who enjoys a successful career with Miami. The Syracuse product joins Cain and R.J. Hampton as the team’s two-way players.

As for the Heat’s camp players, Diallo played sparingly in the preseason, averaging 2.7 rebounds in 6.9 minutes. Champagnie played much more, averaging 7.5 points in 22.1 minutes, positioning himself well in the camp battle. Even though both players are being waived, the Heat likely hope to funnel both to the Skyforce, where they’d be eligible for a bonus worth up to $75K if they are there for 60 or more days. Champagnie played with the Skyforce last season and Miami could revisit him in the future, like they did with Smith.

With the series of moves, the Heat’s opening night roster appears set, though there’s still time for them to cycle through moree Exhibit 10 signings. Miami has 14 players on standard deals and three players on two-way contracts. The club will keep the 15th spot on the roster open for now due to its proximity to the tax.

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