Barry Jackson

Miami Heat gives Richardson four-year, $42 million extension

Heat's #0 Josh Richardson celebrates a made shot as the Miami Heat hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, April 10, 2017.
Heat's #0 Josh Richardson celebrates a made shot as the Miami Heat hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, April 10, 2017. pfarrell@miamiherald.com

The Miami Heat and guard Josh Richardson have agreed to a four-year, $42 million contract extension pending a physical, according to a league source.

The fourth year is a player option.

The deal, which runs through the 2021-22 season, represents the most Richardson could be offered in an extension under the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Richardson will make $1.5 million this season before the new deal kicks in.

Under the extension, Richardson will make $9.3 million in 2018-19, $10.1 million in 2019-20, $10.8 million in 2020-21 and $11.6 million (player option) in 2021-22.

Richardson opted to take the security of the deal instead of opting for restricted free agency next summer partly because he likes the organization and playing here, according to a source in touch with him.

The contract leaves the Heat capped out entering the 2018-19 offseason, barring trades. With Richardson, the Heat will have $115 million in salaries committed for that season, for nine players. That’s well in excess of the $103 projected cap.

Miami would be able to use a salary cap exception next summer.

But the Heat believes securing Richardson longterm, at reasonable money by today’s NBA standards, was prudent.

The version of Richardson who defends with verve and led the NBA in three point shooting in the second half of his rookie season - and the one who finished very strong in the final days of last season - could next summer have conceivably commanded something in excess of the four-year, $42 million deal that he accepted from Miami.

With Dion Waiters injured, Richardson averaged 15 points per game and had 14 steals and eight blocks over Miami’s pressure-packed final six games.

Among all NBA guards who defended at least 300 shots last season, Richardson was ninth-best, allowing the player he was guarding to shoot 41 percent (215 for 524). Those players shot 43.9 overall.

Drafted 40th overall in the 2015 draft, Richardson averaged 10.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists last season and started 34 games but played in just 53 because of assorted injuries, including an ankle problem.

Several sources have said the 6-6 Richardson will be given every opportunity to challenge Justise Winslow and Rodney McGruder for the starting small forward job.

The Heat was allowed to make the four-year, $42 million offer to Richardson beginning Aug. 1 and he had until the start of the regular season to accept, according to someone directly involved.

Heat president Pat Riley met with Richardson’s agent, Erik Kabe, and Bill Duffy (who owns the agency where Kabe works) at Riley’s Malibu home last month and conveyed interest in offering the deal at the maximum money permitted.

Richardson discussed it with Kabe and his family and decided to accept in recent days, according to a source.

Kabe declined to comment and the Heat has made no announcement.

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