The former first-round pick signed a max contract last fall, only weeks after he and Jimmy Butler led the Heat to the NBA Finals. Although money can change a person or their motives, Adebayo has been open about keeping his priorities in order.
Bam Adebayo doesn’t feel pressured by his $163 million contract
The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on sports meant the 2020 NBA Finals ended in October, four months after originally intended. LeBron James won his fourth ring by guiding the Lakers to a six-game victory over Bam Adebayo and the Miami Heat.
Several weeks later, Adebayo had a new contract he needed to sign. The Heat inked their All-Star center to a four-year extension worth $163 million in November, weeks before the 2020-21 season would begin.
Naturally, one might think that the contract could place added pressure on Adebayo, who signed the new deal at 23 years old. But in an interview earlier this year with GQ, he tried keeping things in perspective.
“Pressure is like a homeless man trying to find his next meal. That’s pressure. This is accountability. I don’t feel that as pressure. You gotta be held accountable for the rewards you get. What’s the saying? More is given, more is expected.”Bam Adebayo
It’s responses like that which should keep the Heat confident about Adebayo’s future. He is determined not to let the money change his personality or his motivation.
Adebayo played very well in the first year of his extension
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The Miami Heat chose to build their future around Adebayo, and the early investments have worked in their favor.
The 23-year-old big man averaged 18.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.2 steals in 64 regular-season games during the 2020-21 campaign. He hit an even 57% of his shots and made 79.9% of his free-throw attempts.
The Heat finished 40-32 and earned the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat made the right choice building around Adebayo
When the Miami Heat acquired Jimmy Butler in the summer of 2019, one could have realistically argued the move came from a desire to build around a proven superstar.
Butler has played very well with the Heat, and he’s proven the front office made the right move in trading for him. However, the team — knowingly or unknowingly — had a budding superstar all along in Adebayo, who took over a full-time starting role entering the 2019-20 season.
Butler has two more seasons remaining on his current contract, and Adebayo has made it clear he wants to stay in Miami for the long term. If both stick around and continue playing at a high level, don’t be surprised to see the Heat challenge the Brooklyn Nets for potential Eastern Conference supremacy.