Miami Heat

Heat converts forward Chris Silva to two-way deal. Here’s why he has drawn Haslem comparisons

Chris Silva’s impressive preseason has earned him one of the Heat’s two available two-way contracts.

The Heat awarded the forward with a two-way contract following its preseason finale Friday in Miami, a league source confirmed. Silva played 12 minutes, scored three points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out an assist in the 144-133 loss to the Rockets at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The Associated Press first reported the news on Silva, who went undrafted out of South Carolina this year.

Two-way contracts allow a player to spend up to 45 days with an NBA team during the G League season and the rest of the time must be spent with the team’s developmental affiliate, and the contract prevents the player from being signed by another NBA team. Silva is expected to spend most of the season with the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Silva, 23, finished the preseason averaging 5.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.4 blocks in 9.8 minutes per game. He played in each of the Heat’s five tune-ups, and his best performance came in the preseason opener with 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.

Silva has drawn comparisons to Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem because of play style and the fact they both played for Frank Martin, who coached Silva with the Gamecocks and Haslem at Miami High.

“In terms of the ferocity, the competitiveness, the aggressiveness on the glass ... yeah, you can make those comparisons,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said earlier this week. “I mentioned that to Chris in one of our film sessions that just the way he approaches the game every single day with that competitive edginess to him is similar to the guy who’s going to have his number retired here.

“That’s a perfect example of somebody who may have had to do it in a different way, not getting drafted and having to play overseas. But he fought and scratched and crawled his way back to be in this league, and he was not going to take no for an answer. Just from the little bit I’ve gotten to know Chris, I think he’s going to be similar. He’s going to make you have to make decisions. That’s what you want from young players.”

Silva said earlier this week of the Haslem comparisons: : “I get it so much. It’s crazy. I mean, I respect it because UD is my guy. He’s a vet and look at what he has done for this organization. There’s a lot of respect. His mentality is rock solid, so I try to learn a lot from him during practice and during training camp. He has just taught me so much. His leadership has been big time during this process.”

Silva is from Gabon in Central Africa and began living in the United States as a 16-year-old.

Silva is known for his defense, as he was the SEC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2017-18 and was voted onto the SEC’s All-Defensive team in each of his final two seasons at South Carolina. He finished his South Carolina career with 1,509 career points, which ranks 10th in program history, and also ranks sixth in rebounds (876), third in free throws made (577) and sixth in blocked shots (186).

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound athlete was one of six Heat players on an Exhibit 10 deal vying for a two-way contract, along with guards Daryl Macon, Bubu Palo, Davon Reed and Skyler Flatten, and forward Kyle Alexander.

The Heat currently has 20 players on its roster, but there will be cuts made soon. NBA teams have to trim their rosters down to 15 players (not counting the two two-way contract players) by Monday, which means making final decisions Saturday because of the 48-hour waiver period.

For the Heat, the only decision left is who will fill its one remaining two-way contract spot.

Miami is locked into 14 players on the regular-season roster to remain beneath the luxury-tax threshold, but it can hand out one more two-way contract. The Heat can either convert another one of its Exhibit 10 players to a two-way deal Saturday instead of waiving them, or waive each of the five remaining Exhibit 10 players on its roster and leave its other two-way slot open until another player it prefers becomes available.

The list of former Heat two-way contract players includes Matt Williams Jr., Derrick Walton Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., Yante Maten and Duncan Robinson.

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Anthony Chiang covers the Miami Heat for the Miami Herald. He attended the University of Florida and was born and raised in Miami.
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