Former Miami Heat forward Luke Babbitt signs for minimum with Atlanta Hawks

 

Luke Babbitt of the Miami Heat takes a shot over Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a game in March. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The last Miami Heat free agent has found a home.

Luke Babbitt, who started 55 games in his lone season with the Heat, has agreed to a one year deal with the Atlanta Hawks, according to ESPN. The contract is for the $1.9 million veteran’s minimum for a player with Babbitt’s experience, which is seven years.

The Heat acquired Babbitt from New Orleans last summer for a second-round pick. The deal came after the Heat reworked their team following the loss of Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and Luol Deng.

After re-signing forward James Johnson and adding free agent center/forward Kelly Olynyk, Heat President Pat Riley hinted last month that Babbitt, 28, would not be returning.

Miami is out of cap space and aside from veteran minimums it only has a $4.3 million exception remaining.

Babbitt, 6-foot-9, was tabbed as the starting power forward at the start of the season by coach Erik Spoelstra because of his ability to stretch the floor. He played in 55 games and of his 281 shots, 210 were 3-pointers, or 74.7 percent. Babbitt’s 3-point shot frequency was second in the league to Cleveland’s J.R. Smith (76.1 percent) among players who played at least 20 games.

Babbitt shot 41.4 percent on threes (87-of-210), 40.2 percent overall. His average though slipped to 4.8 points from 7.0 points the previous season.

He has made 43.8 percent of his 3-point shots in the last three seasons.

The Heat currently 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), Derrick Walton Jr. (two-way contract) and Matt Williams Jr.

Babbitt, center Willie Reed and forward Josh McRoberts are the only players on the final roster from 2016-17 that will not be in training camp.

The Hawks will be Babbitt’s fourth team.

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