The NBA is a combined battle between the star players, the most united teams, and also the highly competitive front-offices. As far as cap management is concerned, Pat Riley’s Miami Heat is considered one of the top three in the league. They’re so good at it that their position is the best to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo in near future.
The analytical observers of the off-season believe the Heat are doing everything to keep enough space for a future Giannis acquisition. One very much believable theory also suggests that Bam Adebayo’s extension signals a green flag for a Giannis move.
There’s a lot of calculation involved here. The Heat have reportedly decided on extending Bam’s rookie contract to a 5-year $163 million (25% of the salary cap) deal. Now, this can further extend to $195.6 million if he becomes eligible for the 30% max criteria awarded for personal achievements.
In case Bam was to enter the RFA in 2021, his cap hold would amount to $15.3 million. But now, given his salary of $28.1 million, this extension removes $12.8 million from the Heat’s cap. They now have the option to build $26.2 million worth of space by holding the caps of Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn. This brings Giannis into the equation.
The Greek Freak and Bam share the same agent, Alex Saratsis (Octagon). This influences many decisions. An EC executive recently said, “If Giannis wants to go to Miami, he will find a way to get to Miami. I think, if anything, they want to keep that agent happy, and if he wants Bam extended, you do it. Miami has always been creative in finding ways to get things done.”
Firstly, the most any team can offer Giannis is $33.72 million with a salary cap projection of $112.4 million. Right now, the Heat are falling just $7.5 million short (and $13.2 million short if Bam earns a max) of reaching that number. To close this gap, they can use the team options of Andre Iguodala, Meyers Leonard, and Avery Bradley to offer a sign-and-trade deal in return for Giannis.
If that happens, The Greek Freak can join hands with Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and the newly acquired Jrue Holiday to ensure a championship contention. This trio will also have support from Tyler Herro, Robinson, and Nunn. Now, Giannis can potentially turn down a five-year $228.2 million for a team that can offer a decent salary and a better shot at the title.
Also, it will be increasingly tough for other franchises like the Lakers, the Mavs, or the Raptors to match one such offer. It is now starting to appear much like either the Bucks or the Miami Heat are in the running to get Giannis. The answer to this can come either during the mid-season or the 2021 free agency, so stay tuned!
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