Since being selected as the No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Miami Heat center/power forward Bam Adebayo has managed to turn himself into one of the most dominant big men in the league. In his third season with the team, Adebayo has already earned his first NBA All-Star recognition after averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.2 steals while shooting 56.7 percent from the field. With his impressive performance on both ends of the floor, giving Adebayo a massive contract extension is indeed a no-brainer for the Heat.
Adebayo would be eligible to ink a lucrative deal after this season, but according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, Miami should move their plan to give the All-Star big man a new contract in the 2021 offseason. If they sign Adebayo to a massive contract extension this summer, it would drastically affect their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2021, when they are expected to target Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and other superstars in free agency.
“But if the Heat doesn’t extend him this summer — and instead allows Adebayo to enter restricted free agency in the summer of 2021 — Miami could sign outside free agents first and then sign Adebayo to a new five-year deal in the 2021 offseason, with a cap charge of $15.3 million for that 2021-22 season regardless of what Miami pays him. The $15.3 million cap charge for Adebayo if he waits on a Heat extension until the 2021 offseason would be his cap hold on the Heat’s books entering the summer of 2021 and would be significantly less than Miami’s 2021-22 cap charge for Adebayo if he signs an extension at the max or close to it this summer.”
Adebayo would understand if the Heat don’t give him a contract extension this offseason. After the successful acquisition of Jimmy Butler last summer, the Heat have undeniably become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. However, in order to have a better chance of beating powerhouse teams like the Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers in a best-of-seven series, the Heat obviously need to surround Butler and Adebayo with more star power.
Successfully acquiring the likes of Antetokounmpo would change the fate of the Heat. Pairing Antetokounmpo with Butler and Adebayo would not only tremendously improve their performance on the offensive end of the floor, but it would also make them one of the best defensive teams in the league. If Antetokounmpo re-signs with the Bucks or takes his talent somewhere else, the Heat would still have plenty of options in the summer of 2021. Aside from Antetokounmpo, other intriguing targets for the Heat in the 2021 NBA free agency include Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and LeBron James.