NBA free agency is here in November! It is the year 2020.
Miami Heat opened up free agency with the return of Goran Dragic and Myers Leonard.
Dragic returning was expected; Leonard’s return price was a bit high; however, the two valuable moves were the extension of Bam Adebayo and the addition of Avery Bradley.
I am beginning with Bradley. He is the prototypical Heat player who played on both ends of the court; moreover, he has a chip on his shoulder.
Bradley agreed to take his talents away from the Los Angeles Lakers, who the Heat lost to in the NBA Finals for a two-year, $11.6 million deal.
Bradley, 29, started 44 games for the Lakers before opting out of playing the NBA bubble in Orlando, citing family concern of his son’s health.
“My son has some health complications I did not feel comfortable with,” Bradley shared. “I sat down with my wife and felt it was the best decision for my family. Now I am looking forward to this opportunity and playing.”
In a decade in the league, Bradley has averaged 11.8 points per game and is a career 36.4% 3-point shooter. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Boston Celtics before short stints with the Detroit Pistons, LA Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies.
Bradley adds continual improvements in the NBA, a veteran presence for the Heat with young miles on his legs in a critical position. He averaged 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Lakers last season.
There are bigger fish in the sea.
Signing Bam to an extension should have been the priority for Pat Riley in the offseason. He accomplished it fairly.
Bam’s first plan: to buy his mom a house, wherever she wants.
The Heat and Adebayo have agreed to a five-year max extension. Hopefully, his mom picks a house on the water.
The deal includes incentives that can take its total to $195 million over five years.
“She is my pride and joy,” Adebayo added. “I am ready to see my mom.”
To say Bam deserved a raise is an understatement. Adebayo was named to his first NBA All-Star Game, then won the NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge competition. At the end of the 2019–20 season, Adebayo finished as runner-up in voting for the Most Improved Player Award. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and finished fifth voting for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In the NBA Playoffs, Adebayo raised his game. After testing positive for Covid-19 along with Kendrick Nunn delayed meeting up with Heat teammates in the bubble, he played consistently, leading to the playoff games. He had the game-saving block of a Jayson Tatum dunk attempt in the final seconds of Miami’s Game 1 win over Boston in the Eastern Conference finals to highlight his defensive value for the Heat.
It will be the richest contract in terms of the total value in Heat franchise history, surpassing Jimmy Butler’s $141 million deal from the last offseason, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Adebayo will make $5.1 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract. From there, the extension will kick in with a starting salary of somewhere around $28.1 million for the 2021-22 season. And if he makes an All-NBA team or wins another top leaguewide honor this season, his annual salary would only increase.
“She molded me to be the man I am today,” Adebayo told Local 10 news. “She raised me to be like this.”
The Heat had until Dec. 21 to agree with Adebayo on an extension or else would have to get back to the discussion table next summer. Miami has said the team’s intention was to give Adebayo a new deal. By waiting until next summer, the Heat would have had more salary-cap flexibility.
“She is probably crying,” Adebayo added. “I always dedicate everything I do to her.”
Bam’s mother, Marilyn Blount, raised him by herself in North Carolina, making about $15,000 a year from her multiple jobs and with the family calling a single-wide trailer their home. The real question is, how many houses will Bam buy Ms. Blount? She deserves them.