Meyers Leonard remains with Heat in NBA free agency

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The Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard in action against the Philadelphia 76ers at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on January 22, 2020. - Michael Laughlin/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Meyers Leonard has agreed to return to the Miami Heat for a second season, making his decision at the start of the NBA’s Friday free-agency negotiation period.

Leonard, who earned $11.3 million last season after being acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the salary-cap machinations that allowed the Heat to sign Jimmy Butler, agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract, with the second year a team option. Although he was signed using his Bird Rights, his $9 million 2020-21 salary effectively is the same as the NBA’s full mid-level exception.

Leonard joins a crowded list of Heat big men that incudes All-Star center Bam Adebayo, first-round pick Precious Achiuwa and veteran big man Kelly Olynyk, who earlier this week opted into the final season on his Heat contract.

Leonard had expressed a strong desire to return, even after losing his starting job during the playoffs.

Leonard spent last season renting the Miami Beach home of former Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who was dealt to Portland in exchange for Leonard.

Agreements cannot become official until the 12:01 a.m. Sunday start of the league’s signing period.


©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)