In an Instagram Live interview Monday with iHeartRadio's Ashley Nicole (h/t Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald), Adebayo was asked if he considers himself a "Heat lifer." He responded:
"Right now, my mindset is yes because I can't dictate the future. If I could, I would like to stay here like [Udonis Haslem]. But you never know what happens in the future. Everybody just knew [Dwyane Wade] was a lifer until he left because of situational reasons. You never know. But for me, I feel like I am. I feel like I would want to be a part of [one] organization like UD did just because I look up to UD."
Adebayo is in his third NBA season, and the Heat will be eligible to offer him a long-term contract extension this offseason.
Offering him a max-level extension would go a long way toward ensuring he at least plays the majority of his prime in Miami. It would also buck a trend where young centers, most notably Clint Capela, take offers well below the max—in large part due to the lessened emphasis on the center position.
Adebayo has flashed far more versatility than the likes of Capela, averaging 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists while being among the best interior defenders in basketball before the NBA season was shut down because of the coronavirus. The biggest long-term concern remains a lack of shooting ability. Adebayo shoots 73.5 percent at the rim but below league average at every other spot on the floor.
If he becomes even an average jump shooter, he has All-NBA potential.
Adebayo added that he wants to be part of a championship team:
"I want to know what it feels like to win a championship. You hear the fans talk about it. You see when D-Wade walks in, the love he gets because he brought the city three championships. Him and UD, everywhere they go in Miami, somebody is stopping to take a picture because they got so much respect with what they've done on the court. I want to win. I want that type of love."