At the very moment that the Miami Heat signed Jimmy Butler they automatically cleared any doubt about the franchise’s goal. Butler came to South Beach to acquire rings. Pat Riley and the Heat organization will do anything to land another star. The Heat want Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will be a free agent in 2021.
Riley wants another star
Every team in the NBA wants to sign the 2019 MVP. Unfortunately, not every team has Riley or the cap space. Miami is deliberately doing everything in their power to have sufficient cap space to pursue Antetokounmpo. Riley recently stated, “we’ve done this four times now, had a good group of players, young players, and then either through free agency or through trade brought the superstar in.” Similar to when Lebron James hit free agency if Antetokoumpo meets with the Heat, we can all envision a table with rings on it.
Same agents, same team?
Miami should prove to be a premier destination for any player. The Heat have a championship lineage and a rich culture, adding Antetokounmpo will automatically advance the organization to the top of the East. Bam Adebayo and Antetokounmpo share the same agent Alex Saratsis. “At the end of the day, I can’t force a man to make that decision. That’s going to be his decision, his family’s decision. I can’t persuade him to do that,” Adebayo said to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. But it won’t be the first time Adebayo recruits a star. The Heat star Adebayo has done his share or recruiting by wearing Bradley Beal’s jersey. Adebayo could prove to be a key piece in the 2021 free agency and possibly change the 2019 MVPs’ mind.
How Miami can make more room for the MVP
Antetokoumpo signed a 4-year /$100,000,000 contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, including $100,000,000 guaranteed, an annual average salary of $25,000,000. The 4x NBA All-Star is due for a big payday. The Heat have several contracts on the roster that are coming to an end. Udonis Haslem a Heat lifer, is 39 and likely on his last year. Scacely used big man Meyers Leonard is getting paid $11 million for this season. Lastly, the Heat can move Goran Dragic. Dragic at 33 years old is on a declining contract. Dragic has helped the Heat this season coming off the bench. If the chance is there for Miami to land Giannis, Dragic is another player that would be out the door. Another group of players that might be ending their career with the Heat would be Derrick Jones and Duncan Robinson and what to do with their upcoming contract extensions.
Plan B for 2021
If Miami cannot land Antetokounmpo in the 2021 free agency, additional possible unrestricted free agents that summer will be the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Indiana Pacers Victor Oladipo and New Orleans Pelicans’ Jrue Holiday have both been linked with the Heat. Gordon Hayward was once a top free agent for the Heat, before signing with the Boston Celtics. Lastly, the situation in Utah might help the Heat with Rudy Gobert hitting free agency, and Donovan Mitchell not happy with Gobert’s actions during the Covid-19 NBA break.