When the Miami Heat decided to sign Bam Adebayo to a max contract extension this offseason, it turned a few heads. Not because of the money or Adebayo not being deserving — he unquestionably was a max player — but because it ate up 2021 cap space the Heat could use to potentially chase Giannis Antetokounmpo or another big free agent.
Pat Riley didn’t see it as a problem. The Heat president, in officially announcing the signing, called it a “no brainer.”.
“One of the most important things a franchise can do is to make sure that your best, youngest, cornerstone players sign on the dotted line,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “Getting Bam his extension was a no-brainer for us because we know he will be around for years to come. That’s great for the Heat, great for the fans, and great for Bam.”
Three notes on Adebayo’s extension.
• How much the extension is ultimately for will depend on Adebayo’s next season and any potential postseason awards. At the very least he will get 25% of the salary cap, projected $163 million, but depending on postseason awards he could make more — win MVP and it jumps to $193 million.
Apologies if somebody mentioned this already, but:
Hearing that Bam Adebayo's deal only pays him the full Supermax (30% of cap) if he wins MVP. Apparently it's 28.5% if he makes 1st-team All-NBA, 27.5% if he wins DPOY, and 25% otherwise.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) November 29, 2020
• Adebayo and Antetokounmpo share the same agent, Alex Saratsis. That means this extension likely went down one of two ways: 1) Saratsis told the Heat, in essence, if you want any shot at Antetokounmpo then pay Adebayo now; 2) Saratsis told Miami Antetokounmpo is going to sign his supermax contract extension to stay in Milwaukee, so the Heat might as well take care of Adebayo now.
Either way, you can take the post-signing report of how Antetokounmpo respected the Heat more for signing Adebayo now as agent spin.
• If Antetokounmpo decides to leave Milwaukee — and that is a big “if,” sources around the league have told NBC Sports it is almost certain he ultimately will re-sign with the Bucks — Miami is not out of the running. In that case, the Heat could put together a sign and trade (which would end up sending key pieces such as Tyler Herro back to Milwaukee) or making some drastic roster moves to clear the space, but it is possible. It’s much harder and more painful for the Heat to land Antetokounmpo now (or any other star available via trade or free agency), but it still can be done.