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Report: Heat sign Haywood Highsmith to three-year deal

Highsmith’s averaged 2.7 points and 1.6 rebounds in nine games with the Heat this season.

NBA: Miami Heat at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat inked 25-year-old wing Haywood Highsmith to a three-year contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. The deal will include at least one team option.

Monday marked the final day of Highsmith’s second standard 10-day contract (third total) with the team. By rule, the Heat were forced to make a decision on whether to release him outright, sign him to a two-way contract while subsequently cutting/converting one of Javonte Smart or Kyle Guy or sign him to a standard contract.

Miami ultimately chose the latter — using its final roster spot on Highsmith as opposed to the former pair of options while also deflecting away from the (diminished) buyout market.

Highsmith signed his first 10-day (hardship) contract with Miami on Dec. 30 amid the chaotic COVID-19 crisis swirling around the team. He’s appeared in nine games (90 minutes), averaging 2.7 points and 1.6 rebounds, converting on eight of his 23 shots (34.8 percent) and six of his 15 3-point attempts (40.0 percent) — a 48.5 true-shooting percentage.

He scored nine points in his Heat debut via canning three triples on Dec. 31 versus the Houston Rockets.

When he wasn’t a part of the organization, Highsmith spent his 2021-22 season with the Delaware Blue Coats — the G-League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers. In 17 games (11 starts) with the Blue Coats, he posted 13.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks per game, shooting 49.4 percent from the floor, 39.3 percent from beyond the arc and 62.5 percent from the free-throw line (64.0 TS%).

The Wheeling alum (2014-18) spent two of his other three professional seasons in the Sixers organization (he spent 2020-21 with the Crailsheim Merlins, a German professional team, with several G-League teams bowing of the season due to COVID-19.)

Highsmith, a 6-foot-7 wing that boasts a 7-foot wingspan (!), is the latest project to enter the Heat’s developmental program that’s oftentimes produced fruitful results with the likes of Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and Caleb Martin, among others. He’s showed capability as a rebounder and defender with a sweet shooting stroke from distance. It appears Miami’s brain trust is banking on his long-term development as potential P.J. Tucker-Markieff Morris-Caleb Martin insurance.

Congrats, Haywood!

If you want to see more of Matt’s Heat takes and more incessant sports-centric tweets, follow him on Twitter @mph_824_.