With Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo taking his game to another level this season, the talented big man has effectively made himself untouchable in any trade talks.
Greg Sylvander of Five Reasons Sports Network looked at Adebayo’s breakout campaign that has him averaging 15.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game in the season’s first 27 contests.
Those numbers are a big part of why his status has evolved from being a potential Heat trading chip into a central component of the team’s starting lineup and future.
“At one time, Heat fans often considered Bam a player that potentially would have to be sacrificed in the move to bring a superstar to the team,” Sylvander wrote. “Now it appears his presence on the roster may be the deciding factor in another superstar deciding to join Jimmy [Butler] & co in Miami.
“Oh, and just so we’re clear: Adebayo has been labeled essentially untouchable by Heat brass according to a source.”
The 22-year-old Adebayo was selected by the Heat with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and offered modest statistics during his first two seasons. His development was largely held back by the presence of former Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers during this past offseason.
Even before that trade, Adebayo had been inserted into the Heat starting lineup for the final six weeks of last year’s season.
His performance last week helped him earn Eastern Conference Player of the Week accolades. In the Heat’s three games last week, he averaged 20.0 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists, while also delivering on defense with four steals and three blocks.
Sylvander compared Adebayo’s potential to that of players like Kevin Garnett, Draymond Green and Chris Webber, though he noted that the Heat big man still has some distance to go before reaching that level.
Still, it’s become clear that Adebayo is a player on the rise and the Heat are the beneficiaries of his success.