New Miami Heat forward reveals why he chose them over Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks

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Earlier this month, former Los Angeles Lakers forward Cole Swider agreed to an Exhibit 10 contract with the Miami Heat. But other title contenders offered Swider the same deal, such as the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks.

Swider hopped on the Locked on Heat podcast and explained why he chose to sign with the Heat over the Celtics and Bucks.

“It’s unbelievable. The Miami Heat culture is real,” Swider said. “First day we come in here, we’re touching 10 sprints back and forth. You only have to make two at the beginning but I hear once you get closer to training camp you have to be like five or six.”

Swider went on to speak more about the Heat.

“When you look at those situations, there’s not a better situation than Miami,” he said. “They’ve had so many guys who came in on E-10s who’ve been converted into two-ways, who have been converted into main contracts. My agent was very firm in thinking Miami was a great fit for me. And having guys like Max Strus and Duncan Robinson most recently being able to come in and carve out a role and get big contracts in the future was very convincing for me to come to Miami.”

Swider, 24, went undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft and has played one season in the NBA. He averaged 1.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.6 assists per game in seven appearances with the Lakers during the 2022-23 regular season (zero starts).

Before joining the NBA, the 6-foot-9 forward played four seasons of college basketball. He spent his first three seasons as a member of Villanova University. Swider wasn’t a star player at any point during his stint with the Wildcats, however, as he averaged just 5.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 0.3 steals per game across 77 total games played with Villanova (17 starts). He didn’t receive enough playing time with the team to put up big numbers.

It wasn’t until Swider’s senior season when he played for Syracuse University that he established himself as a legitimate college basketball star. In his one season with the Orange, Swider averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game in 33 appearances with the team (all starts). The forward scored the ball with impressive efficiency from behind the arc with Syracuse, as he converted 41.1 percent of his three-point shots on 6.0 attempts per game, an impressive blend of accuracy and usage rate.

Considering all the success that undrafted NBA players have enjoyed with the Heat over the past few seasons, Swider seems to have made the right choice by choosing to sign with Miami instead of the Celtics or Bucks. After all, Gabe Vincent, Robinson and Strus are all recent examples of undrafted players who have carved out successful and lucrative NBA careers.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.