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Heat signing Bam Adebayo to extension, nuking 2021 max cap space

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Is Giannis Antetokounmpo signing his super-max extension with the Bucks?

In what would be the biggest domino of the NBA offseason to date, the Heat are reportedly signing Bam Adebayo to a contract extension.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:

Signing Adebayo to a max extension would cut about $13 million of the Heat’s 2021 cap space, which they planned to preserve to chase free agents like Antetokounmpo.

Miami would project to have just $22 million of cap space. Antetokounmpo’s max salary in 2021 free agency projects to be about $34 million.

Unless the 2021-22 salary cap lands substantially higher than expected, the Heat would almost certainly need to trade Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo – two cornerstones – to clear max cap space for Antetokounmpo.

Not extending Adebayo was Miami’s best route to max cap space in 2021. The Heat could have held Adebayo at a lower cap hold, used their cap space then re-signed him to a max contract. Adebayo would’ve gotten the exact same money at the end of the day.

Instead, if extended, he’ll start next offseason counting at his 2021-22 salary (which is expected to be the max).

Adebayo would’ve faced risk entering next season without an extension. A young star himself, Adebayo has leverage here. Did he agitate for a the security of an extension now? A max extension would guarantee him $163 million over five years, and All-NBA escalators and/or a higher-than-expected salary cap could get him even more.

Antetokounmpo and Adebayo share an agent, Alex Saratsis. Perhaps, the Heat know Antetokounmpo isn’t coming. He did say he dislikes flashy cities like Miami. But considering the impression the Heat left in the playoffs, it’s hard to see them giving up on Antetokounmpo unless he’s actually signing the super-max extension with Milwaukee now.

Which is why this news puts all eyes on Antetokounmpo.

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