Report: Haywood Highsmith being recruited by Hall of Fame players and championship coaches'
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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Haywood Highsmith reportedly has several suitors in free agency this offseason and has even gotten some pitches from Hall of Fame players and championship coaches.

Highsmith, who has spent his recent years with the Miami Heat, is a solid 3-and-D player that could fit on nearly any roster in the NBA.

During the 2023-24 season, Highsmith appeared in 66 games for the Heat and averaged 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.8 steals per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from 3-point range.

Earlier this offseason, Highsmith’s agent Jerry Dianis gave his client some major props, stating that Highsmith will regularly earn All-Defensive honors as his career continues.

“Haywood will be a perennial All-Defensive player going forward,” Dianis said. “What’s really special about him is his versatility. His size, strength and 7-foot-1 wingspan allow him to guard one through five. Rudy Gobert is the Defensive Player of the Year, but he can’t guard Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kyrie Irving or Paolo Banchero. Haywood does that and it gives a Hall of Fame coach like Erik Spoelstra a big advantage.”

Miami could use Highsmith’s defense on the wing after Caleb Martin signed with the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason. Highsmith himself has also been linked to Philadelphia.

Losing both Martin and Highsmith would be a major blow to Miami’s depth, and it would likely have to lean heavily on youngsters Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. to help replace them.

Highsmith’s path to the NBA wasn’t the easiest, as he went undrafted before joining the Sixers in the 2018-19 season. He then spent one season in the G League and another playing overseas before joining Miami in the 2021-22 campaign.

Even his 2021-22 season was tumultuous (between 10-day deals and G League stints) before Miami ultimately signed him to a three-year deal.

He’s played a big role for the Heat over the last two seasons, appearing in 120 total games and making 37 starts. He played a career-high 20.7 minutes per game in the 2023-24 season and shot the best 3-point percentage of his career (39.6).

With several key NBA players (Klay Thompson, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan) already on the move this offseason, Highsmith’s time to sign a deal could be coming up as teams look to fill the final holes on their rosters.

For the Heat, they’re likely hoping that they can offer a competitive deal to Highsmith compared to the rest of his market to get him to stay in Miami.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.