NBA Rumor: Bam Adebayo Extension?

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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.

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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