Miami traded Shabazz Napier to the Magic and Zoran Dragic to the Celtics not only because the Heat wanted to reduce their luxury-tax bill, but because they wanted to clear roster spots.
One had clearly been reserved for Miami’s second-round pick, Josh Richardson.
Shams Charania of RealGM:
Josh Richardson — the 40th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft — has agreed to terms on a three-year, $2.5 million contract with the Miami Heat, league sources told RealGM.
Richardson’s deal is fully guaranteed for the first season and partially guaranteed the second year, sources said.
Richardson’s minimum salary over a three-year contract would be $2,414,475. Perhaps, he’s getting a little more than that. More likely, this report just contains generous rounding.
Even if Richardson is on a minimum contract, capped-out Miami had to use the taxpayer mid-level exception to sign him. The minimum-salary exception can be used on contracts just up to two years. This deal will give the Heat Richardson’s full Bird Rights if he completes it. Plus, Miami can make Richardson’s a restricted free agent in three years.
If Richardson got the minimum, the Heat would have $2,850,907 of the MLE remaining. The Heat could use that to add another veteran. They already have the regular-season limit of 15 players and are surely reluctant to increase their tax bill, but Tyler Johnson (partially guaranteed) and James Ennis (unguaranteed) could be waived. Mario Chalmers and Chris Andersen are also on the block.
Richardson’s defense is ahead of his offense. The shooting guard out of Tennessee passes well for his position and has improved his shooting stroke. His plus athleticism makes it easier to bet on his development.
The Heat clearly found it important to keep him around.