Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said on a podcast this week that the Miami Heat have “made it known” that they intend to pursue both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo in free agency.
Predictably, Heat Twitter exploded in excitement.
If this happens, our team will be instant title favorites pic.twitter.com/5Iyh27QhUv— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCP) June 11, 2020
Prior to Charania’s statement, many had thought of Oladipo as a backup plan if Antetokounmpo re-signs with the Milwaukee Bucks or signs elsewhere. In fact, that’s exactly how the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson characterized a Heat potential pursuit of Oladipo in a June 5 column.
It’s worth noting that the Golden State Warriors were only able to sign Kevin Durant in 2016 because of a salary cap spike that year. The salary cap is based on league revenues. (The National Basketball Players’ Association rejected a proposal from the NBA to gradually increase the salary cap.) Now, the NBA and NBPA appear headed for a big drop in revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic. Will the NBA and NBPA smooth that drop over a few years, or do they opt for a one-year drop and hope revenues can rebound quickly?
With all the uncertainty surrounding league revenues, the Heat also need to see what Bam Adebayo wants to do. As Jackson and Anthony Chiang pointed out in the Miami Herald last month, the Heat should hope that Adebayo is willing to enter restricted free agency in 2021 as opposed to signing a contract extension after the 2020 playoffs end in October.
If Adebayo becomes a restricted free agent, the Heat could sign outside free agents first and then sign the 2020 All-Star to a five-year contract. But if Adebayo signs an extension this year, Miami’s cap space for 2021 would drop dramatically.