Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
The Miami Heat reportedly plan to pursue Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo if the two-time NBA MVP enters free agency next summer, but All-Star center Bam Adebayo’s five-year max extension would force the Heat to be more creative in reaching that goal due to salary-cap concerns.
However, Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported Tuesday that the Heat may have earned themselves some goodwill with the two-time MVP:
“A source who knows Antetokounmpo well said he would be more impressed by the Heat giving Adebayo the extension now than asking Adebayo to wait a year for the purpose of making it easier for the Heat to acquire Antetokounmpo. Adebayo and Antekounmpo are friends and share the same agent, Alex Saratsis.“
The Heat are rumored to be going “all in” on signing Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2021, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
Chiang and Jackson also said Antetokounmpo remains “the Heat’s primary target in 2021 free agency.”
As the Miami Herald duo noted, Antetokounmpo has until a Dec. 21 deadline to sign a supermax extension with the Bucks. If he does not do that, then he will enter free agency next summer.
Chaing and Jackson explained how the Adebayo extension complicates that pursuit:
“Adebayo’s cap hit for 2021-22 would be $15.3 million if Miami waited until next offseason to give him a new contract. His 2021-22 cap hit is expected to be at least $28.1 million with his max extension.
“That difference of about $13 million is huge, because it makes it realistically impossible for Miami to sign Antetokounmpo—or another free agent such as Victor Oladipo—using cap space.”
Therefore, a sign-and-trade would be the likely path to go for Miami.
On Adebayo’s end, he told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he is currently unaware of Antetokounmpo’s future intentions at the moment.
The 2020-21 NBA season is scheduled to begin Dec. 22.