October 15, 2020 | 5:44pm
The Heat made the best free agent signing this past season in landing Jimmy Butler, who would lead Miami on an improbable run to the NBA Finals.
Next year, Pat Riley could make one of the most consequential signings of all-time.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo set to enter free agency next season, the Heat are reportedly preparing to go “all in” on pursuing Milwaukee’s two-time MVP, according to The Athletic. A previous Yahoo Sports report said it was “an open secret” that the Bucks superstar’s top two destinations are Miami and Toronto.
Milwaukee is eligible to lock up Antetokounmpo, 25, with a super-max contract — a five-year deal worth more than $230 million — when free agency begins this fall, but the future of the “Greek Freak” remains uncertain after an early exit from the playoffs despite the NBA’s best record in the regular season. Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports after the Bucks’ second round exit he remained committed to Milwaukee.
“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it,” Antetokounmpo said. “We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.
“Hopefully we can build a culture in Milwaukee that, for many years, we can come out and compete every single year for a championship.”
A 6-foot-9 hurdle could end Miami’s pursuit prematurely.
All-Star Bam Adebayo is eligible for a maximum rookie extension this offseason, and a deal which could potentially pay the 23-year-old more than $166 million could leave Miami with insufficient cap space to sign Antetokounmpo. Adebayo was one of the biggest breakout stars of the season, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists, before a string of phenomenal playoff performances.
Antetokounmpo averaged a career-high 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds this past season, along with 5.6 assists, before Milwaukee’s shocking loss to the Heat.