NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo, More

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2020

NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bam Adebayo, More

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    It looks as though the biggest moves of the 2020 NBA offseason are done, but the focus is already shifting toward next summer, when Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to headline a deep free-agent class.

    General managers have already planned ahead, ensuring they have the salary-cap space to sign at least one max contract-level free agent. The Miami Heat sprang a bit of a surprise, though, when they signed Bam Adebayo to an extension now, rather than waiting until he hit restricted free agency.

    Many immediately questioned how that impacted the Giannis sweepstakes.

    Here's where things stand with both players, as well as Isaiah Thomas as he continues waiting for his next deal.

Bucks' Confidence in Re-Signing Giannis Takes 'Categorical Step' Back

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Hawks confirmed they signed Bogdan Bogdanovic after the Sacramento Kings declined to match what ESPN reported was a four-year, $72 million offer sheet.

    It looked like the Milwaukee Bucks had made a major splash when they seemed to have a sign-and-trade lined up with the Kings to land Bogdanovic. However, The Athletic's Sam Amick reported the 28-year-old "never agreed to join the Bucks and that has become a major issue." The move subsequently fell apart.

    According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, that could have big implications with regard to Milwaukee's quest to re-sign its two-time reigning NBA MVP:

    "When word arrived last week of the Bucks' Monday night coup—agreeing in principle to acquire both Jrue Holiday and Bogdanovic in the waning hours of the league's renewed transaction window—there was an overwhelming sense around the organization, and people with knowledge of Antetokounmpo's thinking, that he would accept the Bucks' supermax extension offer—the ultimate objective of the franchise's 2020 offseason.

    "A week later, Bogdanovic plays for the Atlanta Hawks, not the Bucks. And there has since been a categorical step back in the Bucks' confidence in getting a long-term commitment from their superstar, even if Antetokounmpo ultimately accepts the franchise's offer of a five-year, $228 million supermax extension."

    It speaks to how slim the margins are for teams attempting to retain their best players when a failed trade for Bogdanovic could alter the situation this much.

    Once it became clear the franchise was in a position to contend for a championship, the Bucks' front office hasn't made many mistakes. Losing out on Bogdanovic was an error, as was declining to re-sign Malcolm Brogdon last offseason.

    Neither Bogdanovic nor Brogdon is the kind of star who single-handedly alters the fortunes of a team, but they both would've helped Milwaukee. And that probably won't be ignored by Antetokounmpo as he weighs his future.

Adebayo Unlikely to Get Full Supermax

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    David Banks/Associated Press

    The general line of thinking was that the Heat would wait to officially sign Adebayo to an extension. That would've allowed them to sign a free agent to a max contract while maintaining the ability to keep their All-Star center.

    Instead, Miami went ahead and finalized Adebayo's deal now.

    Chasing Antetokounmpo won't be impossible for general manager Andy Elisburg, but it will require trading away or declining to keep a lot of players under contract for 2021-22.

    The structure of Adebayo's deal will likely allow for the Heat to maintain a limited level of flexibility.

    Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the 2017 first-round pick will receive $163 million over five years, with the ability to collect as much as $195.6 million. The Athletic's John Hollinger provided the specifics: "Hearing that Bam Adebayo's deal only pays him the full supermax (30 percent of cap) if he wins MVP. Apparently it's 28.5 percent if he makes first-team All-NBA, 27.5 percent if he wins DPOY and 25 percent otherwise."

    The supermax looks unlikely, and even a first-team All-NBA nod will mean Adebayo dislodging Anthony Davis and beating out Nikola Jokic.

Thomas a 'Different Guy' Compared to Recent Years

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    To some extent, Thomas is a prime example why NBA teams need to exercise caution and work proactively when it comes to the health of their best players. The 31-year-old attempted to play through a hip injury in the 2017 playoffs, and the results were disastrous.

    Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix provided an encouraging update about the two-time All-Star while simultaneously referencing how much his profile has fallen.

    "Have been talking to people that have watched or played with @isaiahthomas in recent months," Mannix tweeted. "There's a consensus: That's a different guy. He may never be the player he was in Boston but he is significantly better than the broken down player we saw the last couple of seasons."

    Thomas took Mannix's description in stride, tweeting: "Haha the broken down player lol. You right about that and I was still productive on one leg. I'm back now and READY for whatever role to help a team!!!"

    In 40 games for the Washington Wizards, Thomas averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists while shooting 41.3 percent from three-point range. He also finished 94th among 95 point guards in defensive real plus-minus (minus-4.83), per

    Defensive issues aside, Thomas can help a team looking for backcourt depth, especially since he's willing to accept a limited role in the rotation.