Haywood Highsmith

Heat Notes: Herro, Durant, Highsmith, Adebayo, Oladipo

The polarizing way in which rival teams view Tyler Herro is one reason why the Heat haven’t made much headway in trade talks for Kevin Durant or Donovan Mitchell, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Insider link), who says Miami is still determined to make something happen and “can never be counted out.” If Herro signs a lucrative rookie scale extension, that might make it more difficult for the Heat to deal him in part because of poison pill provision rules, Lowe notes.

According to Lowe, some league executives and coaches view Herro as a potential All-Star, but some view him more like Jamal Crawford or Lou Williams, an instant-offense bench scorer whose defensive limitations make it difficult to keep him on the court in the playoffs. Lowe observes that the Heat are unable to match rival teams’ trade packages centered on first-round picks, so if they are able to land one of the stars on the trade market, part of the reason will be due to an opposing team being “higher on Herro than consensus.”

The Heat including Bam Adebayo in a deal for Durant would hamstring the Heat’s defense and could have disastrous long-term consequences due to the advancing ages of Kyle Lowry (36), Durant (34 in September), and Jimmy Butler (33 in September), Lowe writes. Sending Ben Simmons to Miami along with Durant would help solve that problem, but Lowe says the Nets are “wary of selling low” on the three-time All-Star, whose value has cratered after missing all of last season for various reasons.

Lowe takes an in-depth look at Herro’s strengths and weaknesses, ultimately suggesting that the 22-year-old might be able to develop into a player like CJ McCollum, a very good offensive player with below-average defense.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) provides an update of where things stand with Miami’s pursuit of Durant. According to Jackson, Brooklyn isn’t interested in Herro as a headliner, so Durant heading to the Heat will likely hinge upon the star insisting on only being dealt to Miami, which obviously hasn’t happened to this point.
  • Haywood Highsmith is vying for an increased role in 2022/23 and will aim to emulate the departed P.J. Tucker, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “I think me and P.J. have similar styles on defense,” Highsmith said to the Herald. “We like to guard the ball, be physical and play hard and just play to win. On the offensive end, he’s a good three-point shooter in the corner, and I think I’m a good three-point shooter in the corner. I think I can do the stuff that he does on the dribble handoffs and the short roll, get into the pocket and making plays, shooting the floaters. I think just on both ends of the floor, I think we have a lot of similarities.” Highsmith’s salary is only guaranteed for $50K next season, so he’ll have to earn both his minutes and his contract by sticking with the team into January, when non-guaranteed and partially guaranteed deals become fully guaranteed.
  • Adebayo and Victor Oladipo are unfazed by the perception that the Heat have taken a step backward this summer after losing Tucker to the Sixers and not signing any outside free agents, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “They’re always counting us out,” Adebayo said. “We The Kennel for a reason, the underdog. That’s our chip. You can believe what you want, you can say what you want.” Oladipo re-signed with Miami on a two-year, $18.2MM deal that includes a second year player option.

Heat Notes: Days, Jovic, Highsmith, Allman

After spending most of Summer League with the Spurs, Darius Days was surprised to get a two-way contract from the Heat, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Days, who averaged 13.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in three games in Las Vegas, said he didn’t work out with Miami prior to the draft.

“It definitely caught me by surprise,” he said. “It was an exciting feeling. They gave me the call and I was excited. I was just trying to play my way into something this past week.”

An undersized big man at 6’7″, Days compares himself to P.J. Tucker, who just left the Heat to sign with the Sixers. Days, who said he’s versatile enough to play anywhere in the front court, has studied Tucker’s game to understand what makes him effective.

“He can rebound the ball, he can guard bigger guys,” Days said. “He definitely switches and plays great defense. He talks on defense. He just does the little things. I mean, he’s a champion for a reason. So I like to model my game after the little things that he does.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • First-round pick Nikola Jovic saw limited playing time in Las Vegas because of a quad contusion, but he appears to be a long-term project rather than someone who will help right away, Chiang states in the same story. Jovic, who recently turned 19, had one great shooting game in the California Classic, but struggled with his shot in the other three Summer League games that he played.
  • Haywood Highsmith showed promise throughout Summer League and could be a part of the Heat’s rotation next season, Chiang adds. Highsmith only has a $50K guarantee on his contract for now, but his versatility on defense may make him valuable enough to keep on the roster.
  • Kyle Allman Jr. finished off the Heat’s Summer League schedule with a 26-point outing Saturday night as Miami rallied past the Clippers, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 24-year-old guard was the team’s best offensive player this summer, Winderman adds, but he already has a contract in France and may earn more money by returning to Paris Basketball.

Heat Notes: Durant, Highsmith, Jovic, Summer League

The Heat could try to improve their bargaining power in a potential Kevin Durant trade by negotiating with the Thunder to remove protections on the 2025 first-round pick owed to OKC, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

If Oklahoma City agrees to accept the pick with no lottery protection, Miami will be free to offer Brooklyn first-rounders in 2023, 2027 and 2029 without violating the Stepien rule. Teams aren’t permitted to trade draft picks that are more than seven years away, but the Heat could also include pick swaps in 2024, 2026 and 2028.

Chiang says the Heat are in a “holding pattern” as they wait for the next step in the Durant drama. They haven’t made any moves since reaching agreements to re-sign Dewayne Dedmon and Victor Oladipo shortly after free agency began Thursday afternoon.

The Nets can’t acquire Bam Adebayo as long as Ben Simmons is on the roster and the Heat would prefer to keep Jimmy Butler, so any trade offer would have to be built around Tyler Herro. Chiang notes that Herro, Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry are sufficient to match salary, while inexpensive players such as Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Omer Yurtseven could be added to sweeten the offer. It’s unlikely that would be enough to interest the Nets, who reportedly have received interest in Durant from more than half the league.

League rules prevent Miami from trading Dedmon or Oladipo until December 15, while first-round pick Nikola Jovic, who signed his rookie contract today, can’t be included in a trade for 30 days.

There’s more from Miami:

  • Haywood Highsmith received a $50K guarantee on his 2022/23 salary by remaining on the roster past Friday’s deadline, Chiang adds. The second-year small forward joined the Heat in late December on the first of three 10-day contracts, then was given a standard deal in March.
  • Highsmith has an opportunity for a larger role next season after P.J. Tucker‘s departure to Philadelphia, Chiang notes in a separate story. Highsmith, who scored 11 points in today’s Summer League opener, is working to model himself after Tucker as a three-and-D player.
  • Jovic is still adjusting to the speed of the NBA game and that was evident in today’s debut, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. He made just 1 of 6 shots and grabbed three rebounds in 21 minutes of action. “I know he wanted to play better,” said Summer League coach Malik Allen. “I just think it was moving really fast. I told him just to keep his head up. He was frustrated. That learning curve is going to continue to be there for him.”

Southeast Notes: Magic, Hornets, “Shadow Heat,” Bam

The Magic, owners of the top pick as well as the Nos. 32 and 35 selections in the 2022 draft, interviewed a variety of players at the pre-draft combine, have hosted several prospects for pre-draft workouts, and are expected to host several others as they do their due diligence with an eye towards the future.

Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel lists all the players the Magic are doing their homework on, including Duke guard Trevor Keels, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Baylor forward Jeremy Sochan, Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr., and more.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets, who possess the Nos. 13 and 15 picks in the upcoming draft, are hosting UT-Arlington forward Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton, LSU forward Tari Eason, North Carolina State guard Terquavion Smith, SMU forward Marcus Weathers, and Connecticut forward Isaiah Whaley for a pre-draft workout today, per Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).
  • The Heat‘s young deep-bench players, a.k.a. the “Shadow Heat,” are gearing up for a summer of development, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Winderman notes that the Miami front office brain trust of Pat Riley, Andy Elisburg, and Adam Simon have made it a habit to add intriguing youngsters near the end of the regular season, letting them work out with the team during the end of the year and the postseason ahead of hopeful Summer League success. The Heat have hit on solid role players this way in the past, and hope to do so again with Haywood Highsmith and two-way players Mychal Mulder and Javonte Smart. That trio has been traveling with the club as it continues its playoff run. “I think that gives you invaluable experience, any time you can be a part of a playoff run,” said Heat reserve center Omer Yurtseven, who underwent a similar late-season development process last year.
  • Though Heat All-Defensive Team center Bam Adebayo has had a relatively modest offensive output in the team’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics thus far, the team assesses his production beyond just the box score, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Adebayo is averaging just 13.3 PPG in the series.

Eastern Notes: Cunningham, Harden, Highsmith, Holiday

Pistons head coach Dwane Casey doesn’t have a vote for Rookie of the Year, but if he did, he thinks it would be an easy choice to select Cade Cunningham.

He’s Rookie of the Year,” Casey said of his point guard on Monday (Twitter link via Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press). “It’s not even close as far as talent evaluation. I’ve seen a lot of players. The only thing they can hold against us is record.”

Casey is, of course, a little biased, but Cunningham has certainly played his way into the Rookie of the Year conversation after an up-and-down start to the season, leading all rookies with 16.5 points per game. Still, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News relays (via Twitter), winning that award isn’t the No. 1 pick’s primary goal.

“I’m not really too worried about that race, as much as getting the building blocks and getting a foundation right for next year for the Pistons,” Cunningham said. “I’m going to keep working, and I think I deserve the award, but at the end of the day, it’s a trophy. I think building something good with my team would mean a lot more.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Ben Simmons‘ return to Philadelphia has been the focus of Thursday’s Sixers/Nets matchup, but it’ll also be the first time James Harden plays his old team since asking to be traded. As Nick Friedell of ESPN writes, Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving say they aren’t holding any grudges against their former teammate for the way things played out. “When you look at it from his perspective,” Durant said. “And you look up and Ky’s not playing and then I’m injured, he hasn’t won a championship before, so he’s looking at — he’s 32 years old, I guess, he’s looking at himself, wanting to make a decision to get on a team that can kind of get into that contending, being one of the last teams standing. … You can’t really control how somebody feels when they’re thinking like that. Hopefully he stays healthy and their team stays healthy, we stay healthy, we have a great year, they have a great year, and we just move on from this.”
  • Haywood Highsmith‘s new three-year, minimum-salary deal with the Heat includes a series of three trigger dates for 2022/23, starting with a $50K partial guarantee if he’s on the roster through July 1, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That partial guarantee would increase to $400K if Highsmith is on Miami’s opening-night roster and to $700K if he’s still under contract through December 1, Hoops Rumors has learned.
  • After trying to “blend in” during his first year in Milwaukee in 2020/21, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday has gotten more comfortable and taken on more of a leadership role this season, says Lori Nickel of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The more the more we hear his voice, the better,” head coach Mike Budenholzer said of Holiday.

Heat Sign Haywood Highsmith To Three-Year Deal

MARCH 8: Highsmith’s signing is official, the Heat announced in a press release. The team used part of its mid-level exception for the minimum-salary contract, and the second and third seasons are non-guaranteed, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

MARCH 7: Haywood Highsmith‘s third 10-day contract with the Heat will expire on Monday night, but the team doesn’t intend to let the forward get away. Highsmith and Miami have agreed to a three-year deal, agent Jerry Dianis tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Highsmith, 25, has signed a pair of standard 10-day pacts with the Heat after initially receiving a 10-day hardship contract. He has appeared in nine games for the club, averaging 2.7 PPG and 1.6 RPG in 10.0 MPG.

While Highsmith’s numbers in a small sample size at the NBA level are underwhelming, he played well in the G League earlier this season, averaging 13.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 2.4 APG on .494/.393/.625 shooting in 17 games (29.8 MPG) for the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s NBAGL affiliate.

The Heat will use a portion of their mid-level exception to sign Highsmith to a deal that covers three seasons — the rest of 2021/22, plus two more years. According to Wojnarowski, the contract will include “team options,” which suggests that it’s not guaranteed beyond this season.

Miami has an impressive track record when it comes to signing developmental players to low-risk multiyear deals near the end of a season. During the last week of the 2018/19 campaign, the club signed Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson to three-year contracts that became two of the most team-friendly deals in the league when Nunn and Robinson emerged as reliable rotation players.

Once they officially finalize their agreement with Highsmith, the Heat will have a full 15-man roster.

Southeast Notes: Hayward, McDaniels, Collins, Highsmith, Young

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward, who has been out since February 7 with sprained ligaments in his left ankle, is making steady progress though there’s still no timetable for his return, Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Hayward has shed his walking boot and coach James Borrego is hopeful by the end of the week that Hayward will make “serious progress.”

“He’s pushing it, he’s headed in the right direction,” Borrego said. “Where that leaves us, I don’t know yet. But what I can say is he’s making positive progress and hopefully we’ll have a better update here soon.”

Jalen McDaniels, who has been out since January 21 due to a sprained left ankle, is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Nets.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Hawks forward John Collins returned to action over the weekend after missing seven games due to a right foot strain. That doesn’t mean the injury has completed healed, according to Sarah Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution“I definitely feel like it’s going to be a process to get back to 100% as it is with anything, but I’m just trying to do my best to maintain and damage control, if you will, to just make sure I’m healthy and ready to go enough to do well for my team,” Collins said.
  • The Heat have opted to retain Haywood Highsmith on a three-year contract. They’d like to see him develop into a P.J. Tucker-type forward, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. The team has Highsmith focusing on “defense and shooting threes” to resemble “a little bit of P.J. Tucker,” Highsmith told Chiang.
  • Though the Hawks are struggling to reach the .500 mark, Trae Young believes they can make another deep and surprising run in the postseason, as he told Chris Kirschner of The Athletic“I feel like we can beat anybody if you put us in a seven-game series and give us a chance to look at you,” Young said. “We have talent and smart-enough guys to make some noise. I feel confident.”

Haywood Highsmith Signs Second 10-Day Deal With Heat

FEBRUARY 26: The Heat have officially signed Highsmith to a second 10-day contract, the team announced (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 25: Forward Haywood Highsmith will sign another 10-day contract with the Heat, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Highsmith signed his first standard 10-day contract on February 15. That contract was extended by one day due to the All-Star break and will expire after tonight’s game against the Knicks.

The Heat will not be able to offer Highsmith another 10-day after the next one expires.

Highsmith had an earlier 10-day stint with Miami under the hardship exception in late December and early January. Prior to Friday’s game, he had appeared in six games with Miami this season, averaging 3.7 PPG in 11.8 MPG.

Highsmith had a brief stint with the Sixers in 2018/19, appearing in five games for the club on a two-way contract. The 25-year-old also spent the 2020/21 season in Germany, but has otherwise played mostly for the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate, since going pro in ’18. He has appeared in 17 games with the Blue Coats this season, averaging 13.6 PPG on 39% shooting from three-point range.

Heat Notes: Roster, Offseason Plans, Herro, Martin, Highsmith

In opting to limit their trade deadline activity to shipping out power forward KZ Okpala for a future draft pick, the Heat seemed to express confidence in the current makeup of their roster. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes that the Heat’s success hasn’t quite been predicated the super-team model used by clubs like the Nets and Sixers, or Miami’s prior title-contending incarnation.

This Heat team, currently boasting a 37-20 record, was built through some key free agency additions in All-Star small forward Jimmy Butler, point guard Kyle Lowry and power forward P.J. Tucker, along with the internal development of players like center Bam Adebayo, and guards Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat were unable to trade a first-round draft selection before 2028, until they changed the terms of the first-round draft pick they owe the Thunder in the Okpala deal, pushing it back from 2023 to 2025. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald considers how Miami’s newfound ability to now move its 2022 or 2023 first-round pick could impact its team-building plans during the 2022 offseason.
  • Heat sixth man Tyler Herro continues to sit with a knee contusion, but Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports (Twitter link) that an MRI revealed that the third-year guard has not suffered any structural damage in the knee.
  • The Heat made some adjustments along the fringes of their roster today, promoting reserve guard Caleb Martin to their 15-man roster and adding forward Haywood Highsmith via a 10-day deal. Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald examines what those choices mean for Miami going forward. “It has been a joy to watch him work and commit to the process and then produce winning basketball,” head coach Erik Spoelstra said of Martin, who has significantly outplayed the initial two-way deal he signed with the Heat ahead of the 2021/22 season, emerging as a solid shooter and impressive defender.

Heat Sign Haywood Highsmith To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 15: Highsmith’s 10-day contract is now official, the Heat announced in a press release.

Highsmith’s contract will actually cover 11 days due to the All-Star break. Standard 10-day deals are required to cover either 10 days or three games, whichever comes later. Miami has two more games before the All-Star break, then doesn’t play again until February 25 — Highsmith would be eligible to play in that game before his deal expires.

FEBRUARY 14: The Heat are signing swingman Haywood Highsmith to a 10-day contract, agent Jerry Dianis told our JD Shaw (Twitter link)

Highsmith had a 10-day stint with Miami under the hardship exception in late December and early January. He appeared in four games, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.3 RPG in 10.5 MPG. The Heat view him as a strong fit for the team’s culture.

As we noted earlier on Monday, Miami had two open roster spots after last week’s trade deadline and needed to fill at least one of them within two weeks. Highsmith’s versatility allows him to play shooting guard, small forward and power forward, something that could help Miami since the team traded KZ Okpala and still hasn’t cleared Markieff Morris.

Highsmith had a brief stint with the Sixers in 2018/19, appearing in five games for the club on a two-way contract. The 25-year-old also spent the 2020/21 season in Germany, but has otherwise played mostly for the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G League affiliate, since going pro in ’18. He has appeared in 17 games with the Blue Coats this season, averaging 13.6 PPG on 39% shooting from three-point range.

The 6’7” Highsmith also played on USA Basketball’s 2023 World Cup qualifying team in November.