Just minutes after the Miami Heat were defeated 107-99 to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, the franchise made a surprise move by signing former Milwaukee Bucks guard, Javonte Smart, to a two-way contract.
Signing Smart was an unexpected move because just one day prior, the Heat went out of their way to sign Haywood Highsmith to a 10-day contract. With forward Caleb Martin’s elevation inevitable, as Miami needed to fill a 14th roster spot after trading KZ Okpala to the Oklahoma City Thunder last week, Highsmith appeared in line to take over Martin’s vacant two-way contract.
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However, the Heat had other plans. Smart, who was waived by the Bucks in January after a two-month stint, ended up returning to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League.
“Smart replaces Caleb Martin as the Heat’s second two-way alongside Kyle Guy,” Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman tweeted. “Smart previously had been on a Bucks two-way contract this season. He has been on a scoring rampage with Heat G League affiliate. Martin was converted Tuesday to a standard deal.”
Smart Started Off Strong With the Bucks, But His Performance Quickly Declined
Smart, who went undrafted out of LSU, became one of the standout players from the Heat’s summer league before signing with the Skyforce. In five games with the Skyforce, he averaged 22 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 35.5 minutes per game, while shooting 49.4% from the field and 39.6% from beyond the arc.
Smart’s performance caught the attention of the Bucks, and on November 30, the Heat’s Eastern conference rival announced they successfully poached the young guard, and signed him to a two-way contract.
While Smart started off hot in Milwaukee, averaging 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in his first two appearances, those numbers took a turn as time went on. Overall, during his 13 appearances with the Bucks, Smart averaged 2.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in about 12.3 minutes per game, as reported by Fan Sided.
Smart Has Thrived During His Second Stint With the SkyForce
Smart was initially brought to Milwaukee to replace guard Justin Robinson, who had signed a two-way contract with Milwaukee on September 15. During his 17 appearances with the Bucks, Robinson failed to live up to expectations, averaging just 2.8 points and 1.2 assists in 11.6 minutes per game.
It seems the Bucks had even less patience with Smart. However, upon returning to the SkyForce, Smart has been on fire, especially in February, scoring more than 30 points in three straight games. Hopefully, Smart can keep that momentum going as a two-way player with the Heat. He will wear jersey No. 15.
The 2021 Second Team All-SEC selection was a star player at LSU, where he averaged 16 points, 4.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game during his senior year. He also led the SEC in three-point field goal percentage.