Report: Philadelphia 76ers linked to Haywood Highsmith in NBA free agency

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat could be in danger of losing a key player to a fellow Eastern Conference team, according to a report.

The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly been in discussions with free agent forward Haywood Highsmith, who began his NBA career with Philly back in the 2018-19 campaign.

“The Sixers have interest in trading for Brooklyn Nets power forward Dorian Finny-Smith,” wrote Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They’ve also been in discussions with Miami Heat free agent and former Sixer Haywood Highsmith as a free-agent option. Houston Rockets free agent Reggie Bullock could be another option, but maybe for minimum salary.”

After three seasons with the Heat, Highsmith could end up wearing a different uniform in the 2024-25 season.

The 27-year-old played a notable role for the squad this past season, averaging 20.7 minutes per game in the regular season and 25.2 minutes per game in the playoffs.

Across 66 regular-season appearances and 26 starts, he averaged 6.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from deep.

The defensive end is where Highsmith brings a lot of value to the table, something that teams in free agency are likely aware of. Miami would certainly miss his prowess on that side of the floor.

The 76ers have familiarity with his game, as the first five appearances of his NBA career came with them. But he never got a chance to spread his wings with Philly, averaging less than 10 minutes per game in those five appearances. A reunion with the Sixers at this stage of his career would give him a chance to show them what he’s really all about.

Overall to this point, Philadelphia has had an offseason to remember while Miami has had one that would be easy to forget.

The 76ers added star veteran Paul George on a four-year deal, making them much bigger threats in the Eastern Conference. The Heat, on the other hand, haven’t done anything on that scale, leaving fans to wonder if the team will be able to keep up in the NBA title race.

If title contention is a factor that Highsmith is going to consider, he may be tempted by the idea of landing with the 76ers, as they’d seemingly give him a chance to pursue the first ring of his NBA career.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and has plenty of memories involving the Miami Heat. He expects there will be winning basketball in South Florida for years to come.