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Giannis Antetokounmpo or Luka Doncic? Miami Heat have planning to do

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What happens this season affects the Heat’s present and future successes or failures.

NBA: All Star Game-Team Lebron at Team Giannis Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat are widely seen as clearing cap space for signing Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021. Note how Antetokounmpo answered a question regarding his future plans.

“Of course Giannis would love to team up with his brothers. That’s no surprise. But in Milwaukee....or L.A.?!?!”

More clarity on the Antetokounmpo situation will be forthcoming this summer when he’s eligible for a supermax extension on his current contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“The Milwaukee Bucks have been fined $50,000 by the NBA for violating league rules governing timing of player contract comments, when team spoke publicly about offering Giannis Antetokounmpo the super max.”

Another interesting scenario for the Heat involves a former teammate of Goran Dragic, Luka Doncic. The Dallas Mavericks picked up Doncic’s team option last year, but he’s set to become a restricted free agent in 2022 if he doesn’t sign an extension before then.

“The Dallas Mavericks exercised their 2020-21 club option in Luka Doncic’s contract, according to The Athletic’s Tim Cato.”

“Doncic will earn a little more than $8 million next season and will have one more year before he’s eligible for restricted free agency in 2022.”

Between the Joel Embiid/Jimmy Butler dynamic, the Dragic/Doncic Slovenian connection and other off-the-court conversations, whatever happens this summer and next could take unexpected twists and turns.

Don’t sleep on the quiet, but powerful influence Andre Iguodala has in NBA circles for Miami. The Heat feature several legendary figures with proven success records who act as defacto brand ambassadors: Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Pat Riley, Chris Bosh, just to name a few.

Another potential draw to South Beach resides from the recent shoe deals Derrick Jones Jr. and Kendrick Nunn signed with Puma. For undrafted players the income from shoe endorsements might be greater their initial NBA contracts. Kyle Kuzma gets about $3M per year from Puma, so these agreements do attract the attention of players.

“For context, Kuzma is expected to make more money over the next two seasons through his shoe deal than his rookie contract with the Lakers, which will pay him $5.5 million through 2021. Fun fact: Kuzma had the lowest annual salary of anyone that averaged at least 18 points per game last season.”

The 2020 dunk contest generated a lot of free publicity for both the Heat and Puma. Zion Williamson received a lucrative deal with Nike, but from a marketing point of view companies prefer bigger metropolitan areas.

“Does it help us if a player is on a big team in a big city? Sure, of course it does. What we are more focused on is the fine young guys that are going to be representing the brand.”

The strong contingent of Heat players during All-Star events raised the team’s profile going forward. Presently the franchise has dual objectives of winning now with Butler, Adebayo, Iguodala, while laying a sustainable foundation for this decade of the 2020’s.