After some intrigue about their long-term planning, the Heat announced Tuesday they have signed center Bam Adebayo to a five-year, maximum extension. Like his fellow 2017 draftees Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum, Adebayo signed a deal worth at least $163 million. The contract could escalate to $195.6 million if Adebayo meets criteria such as making an All-NBA team. Unlike Mitchell and Tatum, Adebayo’s deal does not include a player option in the last season. The co-star of Miami’s run to the Finals, Adebayo averaged 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game last season. Let’s grade the deal.
Adebayo, like Mitchell, was selected outside of the top 10 in 2017, and has since grown into one of the most exciting players in the NBA. There was some question as to whether Miami would extend Bam this fall, as the team seemed hellbent on preserving cap space next summer for a run at a free agent class that could include Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the Heat can cross the Giannis bridge if they get there, and providing financial security for the franchise cornerstone is a no brainer.
Bam is the prototypical modern NBA big. He can initiate offense. He’s a great passer. He’s improving as a scorer. He’s a willing screener. And most impressively, he’s already one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA. Adebayo can credibly slow down guards, elite perimeter scorers, or seven footers. He was Second Team All-Defense in 2020, and that should only be the first of many selections. The former Kentucky star is only 23, so the Heat also have plenty of time to let his offense catch up to his defense. (First on the list is probably a reliable short jumper.)
While some may wonder about the implications of the Adebayo contract for the Giannis chase, making Bam whole now allows him to play the upcoming season without any shadow of a doubt about his future with the team. The Heat like to say Adebayo is an embodiment of their storied culture. This contract ensures he’ll be the shining example for years to come.