The Miami Heat announced on Sunday that they have released former Kentucky/California forward Marcus Lee along with former Mississippi State/Kansas guard Malik Newman.
In response to that, the Heat signed former Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins and former Dayton guard Charles Cooke.
The terms of the deals have not yet been disclosed.
Following his transfer from Kentucky, Lee averaged 11.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game during his senior season at California. Undrafted, he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers Summer League roster where he averaged 6.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in seven games. He then signed a training camp deal with the Heat on August 15, playing in one preseason game where he tallied 10 points and six rebounds in 12 minutes of play.
I think a deal to play in the G League is on the horizon for Lee. There was an incredibly small sample size and against lesser quality talent, but Lee was no scrub when he was on the floor.
I got the chance to watch him during his one preseason game with the Heat and while there may not be a rotational NBA player inside of Lee, he’ll always have a home playing basketball somewhere. What I noticed most in the short time he was on the court was how he plays bigger than his slender frame might assume. If he can build into this body, there may be some more room for development.
As for Liggins, he’s actually making a return to Miami. He played one game for the Heat back in 2014 when he scored two points in a little over one minute of playing time. Liggins is no stranger to signing these low-level deals. It seems every season some team picks him up right around this time. He might be one of the worst offensive players the NBA has seen in some time – to be perfectly honest – but his defensive intensity is so undeniable that he’s worth picking up for the regular season. It’s hard to find guys who love to do the brute work and Liggins is the pure definition of that. Throw him into Miami’s culture centered around being in peak physical condition and we could see an even more intense Liggins than ever before.