Bam Adebayo was a part of the Heat’s future plans entering this offseason.
Wednesday’s move was just confirmation of that, with the Heat announcing it has exercised the $3.5 million third-year team option on Adebayo’s contract for the 2019-20 season. The 21-year-old big man was already under contract for this upcoming season, as he’s set to make $3 million in 2018-19.
By exercising Adebayo’s third-year team option, Miami also gives itself the power to retain his rights for the following two seasons. The Heat will have a $5.1 million team option on Adebayo for the 2020-21 season and can make him a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer for the 2021-22 season.
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Adebayo, who was drafted by Miami with the 14th overall pick in 2017, is coming off a solid rookie season. He averaged 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 19.8 minutes in 69 games (19 starts) last season, and also played in the Heat’s five playoff games with averages of 3.4 points and 4.0 rebounds in 15.4 minutes.
As a member of the Heat’s summer league team in July, Adebayo averaged 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in three games as part of the Sacramento circuit and 16.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in Las Vegas.
With centers Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk on the Heat’s roster, the 6-10, 255-pound Adebayo is expected to be used in a bench role again. While he did log some minutes at power forward last year, he spent most of his time at center.
One way to get Adebayo more minutes as part of a crowded frontcourt is to play him alongside Whiteside or Olynyk.
Adebayo logged 52 minutes next to Whiteside last season, but the results weren’t encouraging as the Heat was outscored by 21 points in that time. Adebayo and Olynyk were effective together, though, with the Heat outscoring opponents by 96 points in the 477 minutes they played together.