Miami Heat‘s roster will look drastically different next season, with only five players contractually guaranteed to return, but any move the franchise looks to make will be built around the All-Star duo that is Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
While Butler, 31, is undoubtedly playing at an elite level, Adebayo, at age 23, is not yet a finished product. Miami clearly believes he will live up to his full potential, signing him to a five-year contract extension worth at least $163 million before the 2020-21 NBA season started, but if a bonified superstar such as Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard announces he wants out of Portland, would the Heat put their 6-foot-center on the trade block?
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While Miami has no intentions of trading away their franchise player, it’s a curious discussion. Despite a less than stellar performance during the playoffs, Adebayo was still dominant during the regular season, averaging 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals.
In order to obtain Lillard, who averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game this season, Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson surmised:
Miami hypothetically could offer Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn (through a sign and trade if Nunn and the Blazers have mutual interest) and a future No. 1 pick. Miami cannot trade a first-round pick before August unless OKC agrees for the Heat to unlock protections on the 2023 first-rounder due OKC, which would allow the Heat to trade first-rounders in 2025 and 2027.
According to Heat Nation, Five Reasons Sports Network’s Ethan Skolnick reported, “If Dame Lillard leaves Portland, one of the places that I’ve been told would be attractive is Miami.” However, it’s hard to imagine that Lillard, at age 31, would want to join the Heat if Adebayo wasn’t there. A Heat roster without their star center is a worse team than the current Portland team.
What Would a Trade Look Like if the Heat Traded Bam for Wizards’ Star Bradley Beal
Another star player that has long been on the Heat’s radar is Washington Wizards’ star Bradley Beal, who finished this past season averaging 31.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game.
Beal wouldn’t come cheap. The soon-to-be 28-year-old is due $34.5 million next season and holds a $37.3 player option for the 2022-23 season. As for Adebayo, over the next four seasons, he’s due $28.1 million, $30.3 million, $32.6 million, and $34.8 million.
If Beal decides he wants out of Washington, “An offer of Adebayo and a wing player would be competitive, but even if the Heat was willing to include Adebayo in a proposal (which is highly questionable), including [Tyler] Herro as well would seem too rich an offer for a player a year from potential free agency,” Jackson wrote of a hypothetical trade.
“If Adebayo isn’t in a proposal, the Heat’s chances of acquiring Beal via trade would be minimal,” Jackson continued. “The best package Miami could offer would be [Duncan] Robinson, Herro, [Precious] Achiuwa and No. 1 picks in 2025 and 2027 (if the Heat and OKC unlock the 2023 pick due the Thunder)… other teams could top that.”
Bleacher Report Says it would be a ‘Big Mistake’ for Miami Give Up on Adebayo
In Bleacher Report‘s “Next-Gen NBA: Grading Playoffs’ Top 23-and-Under Stars so Far,” reporter Mo Dakhil gave Adebayo a C+ — but the less than average grade came with a major caveat.
While Adebayo’s lack of aggression on the court has been called out by NBA analysts and even his own teammates, Dakhil said it would be a big “mistake” to “jump off the Adebayo bandwagon.” The 6-foot-9 center “has all the talent to be a building block for the Heat.”
“In the bubble playoffs, Adebayo averaged 17.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and shot 56.4 percent from the field,” Dakhil wrote. “This season the numbers dipped a bit, averaging 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and 45.6%. In the regular season, he was the most consistent player for the Heat… while shooting 57% from the field.”
As for the lackluster playoff run, “The Heat ran into a buzzsaw with the Bucks, but Adebayo’s future is bright and will be for years to come.”