Locking him up now might be the smartest idea.
It's getting to the point where basketball players who aren't even all that good are making a ton of money. When you think about the rising salary cap and the existence of max contracts, it actually makes sense for average guys to make a ton of money. After all, there are only 12 active players on a basketball team.
In the case of Josh Richardson, he could very well grow into the salary the Heat are about to give him.
Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson is finalizing a 4-year, $42M contract extension, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 13, 2017
Miami is finalizing a four-year $42 million extension with Richardson, who is about to enter his third season in the league. The contract will guarantee him $10.5 million a year once his extension kicks in, and that won't be until after the season.
Smart move by Miami locking up Josh Richardson. The Heat could not afford to get in a bidding war next summer based on their current salary.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) September 13, 2017
Richardson took a big step forward in year two, when he averaged 10.2 points per game, a marked improvement over his 6.6 points per game as a rookie. His rebounding and assist numbers also saw a little jump, but that might be the result of added minutes.
Clearly the Heat feel he's a big part of their future, and didn't want to miss out on him next summer. That will surely reflect a good decision if he continues to improve this season, but that's a big if.
Still, that's about what the average player will make now, and he's at least average at this point.