Heat working on running it back with Adebayo, Butler and key free agent

The Miami Heat are working on settling contract situations with Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Haywood Highsmith.
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three
Boston Celtics v Miami Heat - Game Three / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Before making any additions, the Miami Heat are working to lock down their current players long-term, starting with their franchise cornerstone.

According to reports by the Associated Press and Athletic, Bam Adebayo plans to sign a three-year, $166 million maximum extension that will keep him under contract through the 2028-29 season.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise. Not because Adebayo doesn’t plan to be in Miami for the long haul, but because he could have made more money had he waited another 12 months. If Adebayo won Defensive Player of the Year or made an All-NBA team next season, he would have been eligible for a four-year, $245 million supermax – or $79 million more in total value than the deal he will officially sign in the coming days.

Adebayo, 26, had two years remaining on his current deal before agreeing to this new extension that will pay an average annual value of $55.3 million per season, starting in the 2026-27 season.

Heat and Haywood Highsmith nearing a deal?

In addition to Adebayo, the Heat are working on a new deal for Haywood Highsmith.

Highsmith is an unrestricted free agent but league sources told the Miami Herald that their have been discussions between the Heat and Highsmith regarding a new contract during the league’s negotiating window that started on June 18.

“The Heat has interest in keeping Highsmith, and Highsmith has interest in returning to the Heat,” reported the Herald’s Anthony Chiang.

“I definitely want to stay in Miami,” Highsmith said in May. “I love being here. My family lives here, my daughter lives here. So that’s a big priority for me.”

ESPN’s Bobby Marks has projected Highsmith could command a salary in the range of $8 million to $10 million a year on the open market but it’s possible Highsmith could give the Heat a hometown discount to stay in Miami.

Players with Highsmith’s skillset – a 6-foot-6 wing who shot nearly 40% from 3-point range last season – are in demand in today’s NBA. The Heat are working to keep him.

Jimmy Butler plans on playing for the Miami Heat next season

Not to bury the lede, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported on Wednesday that, despite the rumors swirling around Jimmy Butler’s future, the Miami Heat star doesn’t plan on playing for another team next season.

“From what I understand, Jimmy Butler plans to be back with the Miami Heat next year even if there's no extension,” Windhorst said on the Pat McAfee Show. “There's teams that have definitely asked if he's looking to get out and he's said ‘I'm good in Miami.’”

This comes on the heels of big trades between the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets that have shaken up the league in some respect. Many analysts are anticipating more player movement, and teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and Rockets appear desperate to add win-now talent.

Butler, who is eligible for an extension this summer, has made it clear he wants to sign a new two-year, $113 million maximum contract. 

Pat Riley in June expressed concern over negotiating a new contract for Butler, who played just 60 games last season, missed the playoffs with an MCL injury and will be 35 in September.

"That's a big decision on our part to commit those kinds of resources unless you have somebody who's going to be there and available every single night," Heat president Pat Riley said during his end-of-season news conference. "That's the truth."

Because of their position in the luxury tax, the Heat will be limited to their own draft picks (15 and 43), veteran minimum contracts and trades to improve the team unless they make a cost-saving move this summer.

This report doesn’t guarantee that Butler will be in a Heat uniform next season. One of those desperate teams could still bowl over the Heat with an offer that better positions them in the future. But if Butler is willing to play next season without a new contract – a sharp 180 from his previously reported position – that’s one less thing for the front office to worry about.