Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Supermax Deal Means the Miami Heat Should Target James Harden

With Giannis Antetokounmpo signing a supermax deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks, many teams hoping to bring on the star must regroup. The Miami Heat is one of those teams. After an NBA finals appearance, the Heat wants to sign another player and take the team to the next level. With Antetokounmpo out, the Heat have been in talks with James Harden, the disgruntled Houston Rockets shooting guard requesting a trade deal.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s massive deal

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The past year has been full of speculation whether Antetokounmpo would sign a deal to stay with the Bucks or become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The rumors finally ended when the NBA’s back-to-back MVP inked a massive five-year, $228 million contract to stay in Milwaukee. He told ESPN, “This is a big moment for me and my family, and I want to thank the Bucks organization for believing in us. You took a chance on us eight years ago, and now putting my signature on a contract like this is unreal.”

With teams around the league looking to get their claws into Antetokounmpo, the Bucks took matters into their own hands and added a solid supporting cast. They traded for Jrue Holiday and obtained rookie draft pick Jordan Nwora, plus bolstered their bench.

The Miami Heat’s strategy

The Miami Heat was most interested in pursuing Antetokounmpo if he hit free agency. But their recent signings of their own players left little room for the massive contract Antetokounmpo would demand. They just recently re-signed their big man Bam Adebayo to a five year, $163 million contract extension. They also re-signed point guard Goran Dragic to a two year, $37.4 million deal.

With Antetokounmpo seemingly out of the picture, the Heat started talks with disgruntled Houston Rockets star James Harden. With Harden recently showing unsavory behavior toward the Rockets, it’s fair to wonder if he’d fit with the Heat. For starters, the Heat are quite familiar with disagreeable behavior. They acquired outspoken superstar Jimmy Butler, who’s experienced issues with past teams and coaches but fits in well in Miami.

Considering the team already has one volatile player in Butler, it’s hard to say that Harden would fit without disturbing the team chemistry. The Heat might not have to worry about it anyway. Recent reports state that they’ve ended talks about obtaining Harden.  

Going forward

With the Heat returning much of the same team as last year, they’ll likely contend once again. With injuries plaguing them late in the season, a healthy Heat team is a sure threat at returning to the NBA Finals. Both Adebayo and Dragic are ready to play after suffering late postseason injuries.

As for Milwaukee, ESPN reports that the Bucks’ front office faces the challenge of surrounding Antetokounmpo with championship-caliber players. Acquiring point guard Jrue Holiday may change the look of the team, for the better. His versatile playmaking will only improve the looks Antetokounmpo gets, plus he’s also a decent shooter and solid defender.

Either way, it looks like the Bucks and Heat will clash again in the upcoming 2021 season. It’s only a matter of time to see which team’s offseason produced the better results.