The Miami Heat have locked up one of their young players. Josh Richardson inked a four-year, $42 million extension to remain with the team.
Richardson, set to turn 24, was the 40th pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, but he has carved out a niche for himself with hard-nosed defense and the ability to shoot three-pointers. That type of 3-D player has become fashionable in the modern NBA, making Richardson a core player moving forward.
The shooting guard averaged 10.2 PPG and 3.2 RPG, despite playing in only 53 games because of an ankle injury. His four-year deal with Miami includes a player option in the final season.
Richardson entered the league in the same year as heralded rookie Justise Winslow, but Richardson’s shooting ability has seemingly moved him ahead of the Duke forward in Miami’s plans. Winslow also missed much of the 2016-17 season due to injury.
The Richardson caps a busy offseason in Miami, as the team handed out a boatload of contracts to free agents. In addition to re-signing guard Dion Waiters and forward James Johnson, Pat Riley added Kelly Olynyk to bolster the team’s front court depth. The Heat also retained sharpshooter Wayne Ellington.
By keeping the team’s core together, Riley hopes the Heat can build on their success during the second half of last season. The Heat finished the year on a 30-11 record, narrowly missing out on the eighth playoff spot.
With a down Eastern Conference, the Heat should make the postseason in 2017-18. Although the team doesn’t have a star like LeBron James or Kevin Durant, Miami offers strength in numbers. “We have 10 guys that we really like; 11 or 12 guys that we feel are going to be fighting for rotation minutes,” Riley said.