Coming off an impressive run to the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat could be thinking even bigger for the future, with Pat Riley reportedly prepared for an all in pursuit of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo, who expressed a willingness to play for a new team at the end of the Bucks’ season, will be the most coveted free-agent talent available in 2021. After landing Jimmy Butler this past offseason, it seems Riley is prepared to bring an even bigger star to Miami.
Miami Heat to make ‘all in’ pursuit of Giannis Antetokounmpo
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Heat are preparing to go all out in their pursuit of Antetokounmpo when he hits free agency in 2021.
He will be the most coveted player to hit the open market since LeBron James. Antetokounmpo is coming off one of the best seasons in NBA history. He joined Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season. Furthermore, he is the second player in league history to win two MVPs before turning 26.
While the Bucks fell short in the NBA Playoffs, after earning the No. 1 seed, the 25-year-old forward often carried this team. He averaged the fifth-most points (29.5), second-most rebounds (13.6), ranked first in PER (31.94) and averaged one block and steal per game this season.
Since Milwaukee’s season ended, Giannis has only added fuel to speculation about his long-term plans. He unfollowed his teammates on social media. Furthermore, per Yahoo Sports, it’s an open secret across the league that the Heat and Toronto Raptors are frontrunners to land Giannis. The Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks are also expected to make a run at him.
A key moment for Miami will come this offseason. According to The Athletic, rival teams are watching to see if the Heat sign Bam Adebayo to an extension this offseason or wait another year before signing him to a long-term deal. There is a belief that waiting on an extension would give Pat Riley to make a serious run at Antetokounmpo.
Of course, Miami also wants to re-sign Goran Dragic this offseason. He averaged the second-most points (19.1) per game for the Heat during the postseason and is an integral piece of their championship-caliber roster.
Milwaukee will likely have at least one more season to prove they can surround Antetokounmpo with championship-caliber talent. Even if the Bucks fall just short, they do have another card up their sleeve.
Antetokounmpo will soon be eligible for the super-max extension, a five-year contract worth $254 million. It would be a massive deal, even more so with the NBA’s lingering revenue hit and salary cap problems.
We know Riley isn’t afraid to make league-shaking moves, especially if it means he can win another NBA title. Given he just lost in the NBA Finals to LeBron James, Riley will be even more motivated to land his next star and get revenge.