The Miami Heat are hoping to have a very big 2021 offseason.
Earlier this year, reports indicated that Heat team president Pat Riley was looking to sign not just one, but perhaps even two elite stars in the summer of 2021.
The Heat seem committed to making a strong run at defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo more than anyone.
However, according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, the ascension of big man Bam Adebayo could impact the Heat’s ability to spend big in 2021 if the team does not approach Adebayo’s contract extension in the right way.
“But as much as the Heat values Adebayo and wants to keep him long-term, giving him a multiyear extension this summer would be very damaging in the Heat’s efforts to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo or another star in 2021 free agency,” they wrote.
“Here’s why: If the Heat this summer locks up Adebayo to a max contract (or something close to it) that he appears increasingly likely to command, his full salary would be on the Heat’s books for the 2021-22 season, thus drastically reducing Miami’s cap space in the summer of 2021.”
Luckily, Jackson and Chiang also broke down an easy workaround that would allow the Heat to be high rollers in 2021 as well as pay their blossoming young star.
“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,” they wrote.
“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.”
Given Riley’s brilliance when it comes to making the money work when a star player is involved, chances are good that this very issue has been discussed ad nauseam within the Heat’s front office.
Surely, when it comes to Adebayo and Antetokounmpo, Riley is going to try to find a way to both have his cake and eat it too.