NBA rumors: Miami Heat prepared to go all-in for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Rival teams are monitoring Adebayo’s extension situation and the aftereffects if Miami bypasses extending their superstar big man. Miami is preparing to go all in on the pursuit of Milwaukee’s two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 free agency, sources said. There is a school of thought that salary-wise, waiting on Adebayo’s extension would allow for as much space as possible for 2021. But given Adebayo’s presence, leadership and meaning to the Heat franchise, this is a straight-forward conversation between team executives and Adebayo’s agent, Alex Saratsis: A max extension this offseason or not.

More on Bam Adebayo Extension?

NBA Central: Brian Windhorst says to keep an eye on Bam Adebayo and Giannis Antetokounmpo this off season "It’s interesting to point out that Bam and Giannis Antetokounmpo have the same agent. . . If neither of them sign extensions this off season, watch out for the Miami Heat." (🎥 ESPN) pic.twitter.com/hQXIytB8L2

http://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1316124775631253506
All of this circles back to one of the most important decisions facing Miami: Bam Adebayo. He’ll be eligible for a max extension this offseason, and if he makes one of the top three 2020-21 All-NBA teams and/or wins Defensive Player of the Year, he’ll be eligible for a five-year deal that could pay him nearly $200 million. However, extending Adebayo now screws up the sugar-plum dreams of having cap space for a Giannis pursuit in 2021. One of the key pieces of that fantasy is that Adebayo’s restricted free-agent cap hold would only be $15 million; if he’s on the books for $35 million instead, that all goes right out the window.
However, a Miami team with Adebayo on a max contract, even the “low” max that pays just 25 percent of the cap, has no chance of having enough cap room for another max free agent. Not with Butler making $35 million in 2021-22 and $5.2 in dead money committed to the long-gone Ryan Anderson. Just with those three spots filled, it is not mathematically possible to have max cap space unless there is a massive leap in the cap number ahead of 2021 — which is the one thing that seems least likely to happen in the current financial environment.
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January 25, 2021 | 5:24 pm EST Update
But then on Jan. 26, 2020, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter (Gianna), her AAU teammates (Alyssa Altobelli; Payton Chester), their parents (John and Keri Altobelli; Sarah Chester) and another one of their AAU basketball coaches (Christina Mauser) were among the nine people that died in a helicopter crash near the Santa Monica Mountains. They were on their way to an AAU basketball game at the facility Faulkner oversaw in Thousand Oaks, Calif. “The worst tragedy that we could have ever imagined happened,” Faulkner told USA TODAY Sports. “That changed everything.”
In between grieving and brainstorming sessions, however, Faulkner often looked out his window and saw countless Bryant fans leaving memorabilia outside the entrance of the facility. They laid bushels of flowers. They lit candles. They displayed Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 Lakers jerseys. They showcased framed photos of Bryant, who gave himself the nickname “The Black Mamba,” from throughout his 20-year NBA career. “It is something I will never forget the rest of my life with how powerful and impactful one person that Kobe Bryant could be,” Faulkner said. “From seeing all of humanity, there were no color barriers. There were no physical barriers. There were people in wheelchairs. There were people mentally challenged. There were superstar athletes. There were fathers and sons and mothers and daughters and whole families.”
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