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Heat Free Agent Leaning Towards Re-Signing, Contract Revealed?

Miami Heat forward Haywood Highsmith guards Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum

The Miami Heat will have 11 players entering free agency this offseason and will almost certainly bring a couple back.

Haywood Highsmith Leaning Towards Re-Signing, Contract Revealed?

Fortunately for the Heat, one of their most valuable impending free agent has already expressed a desire to return. In an interview with HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, lockdown Heat defender Haywood Highsmith says he would “love to stay in Miami for sure.”

“I feel like I’ve built a great life out here,” he explains. “My daughter lives out here as well. If all things are close, I definitely would love to stay in Miami, but we’ll see when that time comes.”

“I’ll still be the same person no matter how much I get paid or whatever happens. I’ll still be in the gym locked in and trying to win a championship…

I’ll push myself to be the hardest worker on the team, continue to get better, be a contributor by guarding the best player, knock down shots, do what it takes to win, stay in my role, and help win championships.”

Highsmith, who went undrafted in 2018, is expected to command $8-10 million in free agency. Coming off a career year, the 27-year-old averaged 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 0.8 steals per game in 2023-24, while shooting 39.6 percent from 3. With efficiency and multipositional defense at 6-foot-7, he’s evolved into one of the better 3-and-D forwards in the league.

While his nickname (‘The Locksmith’) is an ode to his unshakeable defense, it’s also a nice metaphor for his ability to fit in myriad lineups.

The Big Picture

The Heat are focused on the big picture, wanting their proud program to generate tangible results.

For an organization such as the Heat, that can be nothing less than an NBA championship. Looking to raise their fourth championship banner, they’ve built a talented roster headlined by two All-Stars and a high octane backcourt. Indeed, the quartet of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Terry Rozier hangs up 80 points a game. Nonetheless, the secret to the Heat’s success in the post-Big 3 era has been their defense.

Pushing their players to be in peak physical condition, Miami’s athletic ability shines at that end. That they’re tenacious, hardhat-wearing, and disciplined is both a nod to their nature and to the coaching of Erik Spoelstra. A creative strategist and master motivator with the same work ethic he wants his players to have, Spoelstra is arguably the best coach in Heat history.

However, due to their inability to stay healthy, Heat president Pat Riley has to consider moving one of their Core Four for someone with better availability.

Jimmy Butler Trade Incoming?

As of now, the odds-on bet might be Butler, who seems to be clashing with Riley. He also likely has the highest trade value due to his reputation around the league. Looking at the NBA landscape, Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard will be the most attractive target in a Butler deal due to his scoring prowess.

However, Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan fits in cleanly as Butler’s replacement at forward. Though he’s a less threatening defender, he’s a more engaged scorer. He’s also far more reliable with regard to his availability; the last time he missed 15 (or more) games was in 2014-15. For comparison, Butler has missed at least 15 games in seven of his past seasons.

If they’re targeting either Lillard or DeRozan though, it makes sense for them to key in on defenders like The Locksmith in free agency. To that point, contributors like Delon Wright and Caleb Martin should be locks to return as well. Praised for their defensive, they’ll offer plenty of balance for either star on the perimeter.


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