Report: Heat wing Haywood Highsmith could command new $10 million salary

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Miami Heat lost two key role players last summer and could lose another pair of important contributors this summer.

Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith are set to his free agency, with Martin expected to decline his $7.1 million player option. Martin, after two strong seasons with the Heat, is in line for a raise that could double his salary.

Meanwhile, the Heat might also lose Highsmith, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Salary cap analysts Bobby Marks and Keith Smith peg potential offers for Highsmith in the range of $7 million to $8 million per year.

The Miami Heat could lose both Caleb Martin and Haywood Highsmith this summer if new salary projections are accurate.

Highsmith, who made $2.3 million last season, was being groomed to be Martin’s replacement. Instead, he could walk out the door in the same summer.

“Martin is in position to cash in,” wrote Smith. “He’s one of the better 3&D wing options available this summer. At least the Non-Taxpayer MLE should be in play for Martin, which would nearly double his current salary. If the Heat want to keep Martin, they’re going to have to pay to do so.

“Miami is in a similar situation with Haywood Highsmith. He’s an unrestricted free agent, and Highsmith has established himself as a solid combo forward for a playoff team. He made 39.6% of his three-pointers this season, while providing good defense and improved ballhandling and passing. Highsmith isn’t going to break the bank, but a contract in the range of $8 to $10 million [annually] could be in the offing for him.”

Along with Smith, Mark, an ESPN front office insider and former Nets executive, told the Miami Herald that he projects Highsmith’s annual salary in his next contract to be “in the $8 to 10 million range.” 

Although the Heat can match any offers for Martin or Highsmith, doing so would push the team’s payroll above the second apron for next season.

Teams above the second apron are hit with several team-building restrictions, including not being allowed to take back more salary in trades or consolidate contracts in trades. Going above the second apron would harshly limit Miami’s ability to trade for a star.

This means that to retain Martin or Highsmith, the Heat would also need to cut payroll from other places on the roster. Either way, it seems the Heat will be losing at least one key contributor this summer before making any additions.