MIAMI — The Heat have added a few more new faces to their roster.
Miami announced Monday that it signed 6-foot-5 shooting guard Matt Williams, who impressed with his 3-point shooting on the Heat’s summer league team, and point guard Derrick Walton Jr., who played for the Magic’s summer league team in Orlando. Williams did not sign a two-way contract, according to a league source, but the Heat announced that they did use their first two-way contract to sign Walton.
Two-way contracts were added under the new collective-bargaining agreement that took effect on July 1, which allow for NBA teams to keep the rights to two players on their G-League squads on top of the NBA’s standard 15-player roster limit. Players under two-way contracts don’t count against the salary cap and can’t be poached by another team, as these players can spend up to 45 days with their NBA teams and the rest of the time must be spent with the NBA team’s G-League affiliate — Miami’s developmental affiliate is the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Williams’ deal with the Heat does not fall into this category yet, but it could possibly be converted into a two-way contract down the road. With the addition of two-way contracts, an NBA team can carry up to 17 players on its roster during the regular season and up to 20 players before and during training camp and the preseason.
Williams, an Orlando native who was undrafted out of the Central Florida this year, overcame a sprained ankle that forced him to miss the first few days of the Orlando Summer League to earn this opportunity.
But Williams was healthy enough to show his shooting ability in Las Vegas, making 18 of the 40 threes (45 percent) he took in six Las Vegas Summer League games. He appeared in a total of eight summer league games (six starts) with the Heat in Orlando and Las Vegas, averaging 9.9 points and 2.6 rebounds while shooting 38 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3-point range.
Williams’ impressive play in Las Vegas included a 5-of-8 performance from beyond the arc against Washington on July 10 and a 6-of-9 performance from long range against Memphis on July 15. Williams was known for his 3-point shooting at UCF, too, finishing as the school’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals made (274).
As a senior at UCF, Williams appeared in 36 games (all starts) and averaged 15.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 36.5 minutes while shooting 39.1 percent from the field, 38.4 percent from 3-point range and 81.1 percent from the foul line. He set the single-season school and conference records for 3-point field goals made (126) and set the Knights’ single-game 3-point field goals made record after hitting 11 against South Florida on Jan. 17.
Walton, who went undrafted out of Michigan this year, appeared in four Summer League games (one start) with the Magic in Orlando and averaged 10.0 points, 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 20.5 minutes while shooting 46.9 percent (15-of-32) from the field and 50 percent (6-of-12) from 3-point range. His 50 percent shooting from long range ranked as the third-best percentage during the Orlando Summer League with a minimum of 10 attempts.
Walton appeared in 127 games (126 starts) at Michigan, becoming the only player in program history to score at least 1,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and record 400 assists. Among the school’s all-time leaders, he finished second in free-throw percentage (.837), fourth in assists (499), tied for fourth in 3-point field goals made (233), seventh in steals (146), eighth in minutes (4,053) and 22nd in points (1,471).
Walton was named the Big Ten Tournament MVP as he helped lead the Wolverines to the 2017 Big Ten Championship.
One of Walton’s best college performances came when he set a single-game school record with 16 assists against Nebraska on March 5. He also recorded the the fifth triple-double in Michigan history with 10 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists against Youngstown State on Dec. 19, 2015.
Walton measured 5-feet-11 without shoes at the draft combine in May.
“My dad growing up always told me to play bigger than my size,” Walton said to the Orlando Sentinel during summer league play earlier this month. “In this time frame in the NBA I think the smaller guards are excelling, guys like Isaiah Thomas and Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul. I think I can do some similar things. At the end of the day, when you can play, you can play. It doesn’t matter how tall you are.”
With the Heat capped out, they will have to fill out the rest of their roster with the $4.3 million room exception and minimum contracts.
With Williams and Walton, the Heat now have 16 players under contract for the 2017-18 season: center Hassan Whiteside ($23.8 million), guard Goran Dragic ($17 million), forward James Johnson ($14 million), guard Dion Waiters ($11 million), center/forward Kelly Olynyk ($10.6 million), guard Wayne Ellington ($6.3 million), guard Tyler Johnson ($5.9 million), forward Justise Winslow ($2.7 million), center/forward Bam Adebayo ($2.5 million), forward Udonis Haslem ($2.3 million), guard Josh Richardson ($1.5 million), guard Rodney McGruder ($1.3 million), center A.J. Hammons ($1.3 million), forward Okaro White ($1.3 million), Walton and Williams.