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Heat, Raptors frontrunners in Giannis sweepstakes

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Yahoo! Sports’ Vincent Goodwill called it “an open secret.”

Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Two Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Yahoo! Sports’ Vincent Goodwill reported Thursday that “many in league circles believe Miami and Toronto are the frontrunners” in the Giannis Antetokounmpo sweepstakes. Goodwill added that one observer called it “an open secret” in the NBA bubble. Antetokounmpo can become a free agent following the 2020-21 season.

This reporting comes on the heels of The Athletic’s Sam Amick writing that a front office executive predicted the reigning MVP to sign with the Heat should Miami go on to eliminate the Milwaukee Bucks.

Before the NBA playoffs started, Jimmy Butler told Rachel Nichols of ESPN that he expects the Heat to sign another All-Star. “This organization is really good at getting what they want to win a championship,” he said.

Of course, another All-Star who has been linked to the Heat is Joel Embiid, Butler’s former teammate. Aside from the February Instagram exchange, Embiid tweeted “IF....” during Butler’s explosion in Game 1 of Miami’s series against Milwaukee. The tweet apparently referred to what could’ve happened if Butler had re-signed with the Philadelphia 76ers instead of signing with the Heat.

Embiid is under contract until the 2022-23 season, and Sixers General Manager Elton Brand has already said that he’s not looking to trade him or Ben Simmons.