Bam Adebayo

Heat Notes: Highsmith, Jovic, Bam, Mailbag, Offseason

Three-and-D wing Haywood Highsmith will be one of the Heat‘s key unrestricted free agents this summer after averaging 6.1 PPG and 3.2 RPG while shooting 39.6% from deep in 66 regular season games (20.7 MPG),

Speaking to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the 27-year-old said that – in an ideal world – he’d like to re-sign with the Heat. That outcome is far from certain though, as Miami projects to have one of the league’s highest payrolls in 2024/25.

I’d love to stay in Miami for sure,” Highsmith told Scotto. “I feel like I’ve built a great life out here. My daughter lives out here as well. If all things are close, I definitely would love to stay in Miami, but we’ll see when that time comes. I’ll still be the same person no matter how much I get paid or whatever happens. I’ll still be in the gym locked in and trying to win a championship.”

Highsmith also touched on his atypical career journey, the team’s culture, and playing for head coach Erik Spoelstra, among other subjects. As far as individual goals, Highsmith said he’d like to earn some hardware in the future.

I definitely want to be on the All-Defensive Team or a Defensive Player of the Year candidate,” he said. “I think I have the ability to do something like that.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • No player on the Miami’s roster showed more progress in ’23/24 than second-year forward Nikola Jovic, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. After appearing in just four of the team’s first 30 games, Jovic started all 32 games he appeared in down the stretch (including the playoffs), impressing his teammates and coach in the process. “He’s 20. So I always do need to remind myself of that,” Spoelstra said. “I hold him to an incredibly high standard because our standards are not going to change. Our expectations are always going to be championship-level expectations. Yes, I’m expecting him to rise to that. Is he there now? No. Am I going to stop driving him and pushing him? No. But I’ve been very encouraged by the progress that he’s made, in particular in the last 12 months.”
  • Although he finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting and made the All-Defensive First Team for the first time, Bam Adebayo only appeared on five All-NBA ballots. As Chiang writes (subscriber link), that means Adebayo won’t be eligible for a super-max extension this summer, but he could still become eligible in 2025 if he makes an All-NBA team or wins DPOY next season.
  • In a mailbag article, Chiang considers whether Purdue center Zach Edey could be a fit for the Heat with the 15th pick (probably not). He also answers questions about what the team needs to improve on this offseason and what certain players might do with their impending options.
  • Cap expert Yossi Gozlan explores the Heat’s offseason, including whether they have the financial flexibility to try and trade for a third star like Donovan Mitchell (YouTube link).

Edwards, Haliburton Earn Salary Increases With All-NBA Nods

The maximum-salary rookie scale extensions that Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton signed last offseason will have starting salaries worth 30% of the 2024/25 salary cap instead of 25% after both players made All-NBA teams. Edwards earned a spot on the Second Team, while Haliburton made the Third Team.

As our maximum-salary projections for ’24/25 show, based on a $141MM cap, the five-year deals signed by Edwards and Haliburton will now be worth $245,340,000 instead of $204,450,000. Those numbers could change if the cap comes in above or below $141MM.

Edwards and Haliburton agreed to Rose Rule language in their respective extensions. The Rose Rule allow players coming off their rookie scale contracts to receive salaries worth more than 25% of the cap in year five if they make an All-NBA team during the season (or two of the three seasons) before their extension goes into effect. Players can also qualify by being named Most Valuable Player or Defensive Player of the Year.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball had similar language in his maximum-salary extension, but injuries prevented him from having any shot at All-NBA team in 2023/24, so his contract will be worth $204.45MM over five years.

Here are more of the financial implications of today’s All-NBA selections:

  • Because Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey didn’t make an All-NBA team, his maximum salary as a restricted free agent this offseason will be worth 25% of the cap instead of 30%. He’ll be eligible for a five-year deal up to a projected $204.45MM.
  • Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander met the super-max performance criteria by earning All-NBA nods for a second straight year, but neither player has enough years of service yet to sign a designated veteran extension this summer. Both Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander will be eligible to sign super-max extensions, starting at 35% of the cap instead of 30%, during the 2025 offseason. As Bobby Marks of ESPN outlines (Twitter links), Doncic would be eligible for a five-year extension projected to be worth over $346MM that begins in 2026/27, while SGA could sign a four-year extension worth a projected $294MM+ that would begin in 2027/28.
  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is one year ahead of Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander — he met the super-max performance criteria by making a second straight All-NBA team in 2023, but was still one year away from having the required years of service at that time. He’ll be eligible this July to sign a five-year super-max extension that will start at 35% of the ’25/26 cap and be worth a projected $314.85MM.
  • Players who would have been eligible for super-max extensions if they had made an All-NBA team include Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Heat big man Bam Adebayo, Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, and Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. All of those players could still qualify if they remain with their current teams and earn All-NBA honors next season, though it’s worth noting that Ingram is considered a trade candidate this summer and is highly unlikely to get a super-max offer even if he qualifies.
  • Kings center Domantas Sabonis earned a $1.3MM contract bonus as a result of being named to the All-NBA Third Team, tweets James Ham of The Kings Beat.

2023/24 All-NBA Teams Announced

The All-NBA teams have been announced for the 2023/24 season (Twitter link).

A total of 99 media members voted on the honors, with players receiving five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote and one point for a Third Team vote. This year’s All-NBA teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Third Team

Gilgeous-Alexander and Jokic were the only two unanimous First Team selections, receiving 99 of 99 possible votes. Doncic earned 98 First Team votes but was named to the Second Team on one ballot. Antetokounmpo (88), Tatum (65), Brunson (37), Edwards (3), and Durant (2) were the only other players to receive multiple First Team votes.

Others receiving votes and their point totals are the CelticsJaylen Brown (50), the ClippersPaul George (16), the SixersTyrese Maxey (16), the TimberwolvesRudy Gobert (12), the SpursVictor Wembanyama (11), the PelicansZion Williamson (11), the Magic’s Paolo Banchero (10), the KingsDe’Aaron Fox (9) the Heat’s Bam Adebayo (7) and the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1).

This is the first season that a minimum number of games was required to qualify for most postseason awards under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Among the stars who might have received All-NBA consideration if they had reached the 65-game threshold are Sixers center Joel Embiid, who was the 2023 MVP, along with Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, Knicks forward Julius Randle and Celtics big man Kristaps Porzingis.

This was also the first season that voting for the All-NBA team was positionless, though that didn’t have a huge impact on the results, as the top two teams still feature two guards, a pair of forwards, and a center. The Third Team is made up a center, three guards, and just one forward.

Wembanyama, who received two votes for the Second Team and five for the Third Team, was the only rookie named on any of the ballots. Earlier this week, he became the first rookie to earn a spot on an All-Defensive First Team.

The Lakers with Davis and James and the Suns with Durant and Booker were the only teams to have multiple players honored. They were both eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Several players became eligible for salary increases or earned a bonus by achieving All-NBA honors. Read more here.

NBA Announces 2023/24 All-Defensive Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-Defensive teams for the 2023/24 season (Twitter link).

A total of 99 media members voted on the All-Defensive awards, with players receiving two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote. This year’s All-Defensive teams are as follows:

First Team

Second Team

Gobert, who won this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award, was the only unanimous First Team selection, earning all 99 possible First Team votes.

No other players showed up on every ballot, though Wembanyama appeared on 98, receiving 86 First Team nods. Wembanyama is the first rookie in NBA history to claim a spot on an All-Defensive First Team, according to the NBA (Twitter link). Five rookies previously made a Second Team.

All-Defensive voting was positionless for the first time this season, which is why four big men – Gobert, Wembanyama, Adebayo, and Davis – were permitted to be named to the First Team. Jones, a forward, was the only non-center to earn First Team recognition, whereas the Second Team was made up entirely of guards and forwards.

The Timberwolves and Celtics – who ranked first and second, respectively, in regular season defensive rating – were the only teams to have more than one All-Defensive player in 2023/24. McDaniels was a Second Team selection, joining Gobert, while the Celtics’ backcourt duo of White and Holiday also made the Second Team. Both White ($250K) and Holiday ($139,200) earned bonuses as a result of making an All-Defensive team, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

The rookie scale extension McDaniels signed last fall actually includes an All-Defensive bonus as well, Marks tweets, but since that contract doesn’t go into effect until this July, the Timberwolves’ perimeter stopper won’t cash in on that $431,035. That incentive is now considered “likely” instead of “unlikely” for next season though, as Marks notes, increasing McDaniels’ cap hit to $23,017,242.

Outside of the top 10, the players who received the most All-Defensive votes were Thunder wing Luguentz Dort (34 points, including six First Team votes), Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (29 points), Thunder center Chet Holmgren (21 points), Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (20 points), and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (19 points).

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (six), Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown (three), and Kings teammates Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox (one apiece) were the other players who received First Team votes. In total, 34 players earned at least one First Team or Second Team vote.

Players were required to meet the 65-game criteria in order to qualify for All-Defensive honors this season. Knicks forward OG Anunoby, Warriors big man Draymond Green, and Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley – each of whom made an All-Defensive team last spring – were among the standout defenders who didn’t reach that games-played minimum in 2023/24.

Southeast Notes: Hornets, Banchero, Clingan, Adebayo

The Hornets have named Shelly Cayette-Weston as their president of business operations, according to a team press release. Cayette-Weston, who will join the organization on July 1, has spent 12 years with the Cavaliers, including the last two as executive VP & chief commercial officer.

“I think my strength really centers around relationships and that’s the start of it,” Cayette-Weston told Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer. “And I think that Charlotte is a great market for that, to continue expanding on the great relationships that wehave already and continue to build on in this market. I think from a strategic standpoint, I’ve been able to create consistent success in Cleveland.” 

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Paolo Banchero expects a less hectic summer than the last two years as the Magic‘s star forward prepares for next season after leading them to the playoffs. “Really just going to try to get back to the basics this summer, get in the best shape I can, get back to the stuff that got me here,” he told Jason Beede of the Orlando Sentinel.
  • Donovan Clingan is “Brook Lopez 2.0,” according to The Athletic’s David Aldridge, and that’s why the Wizards should select the UConn center with the No. 2 overall pick. Clingan is 7’2”, 280 pounds and as close to a sure thing as any team can find in this draft filled with uncertainty, according to Adridge, who adds that the big man will provide a defensive presence, set solid screens and score inside, plus he’s got nimble feet for someone of his stature.
  • Heat center Bam Adebayo is entering his eighth season this fall but he still has to “expand his game,” according to team president Pat Riley. Among the potential areas for growth for Adebayo on the offensive end, according to the Miami Herald’s Anthony Chiang, are refining his post-up package, finding ways to generate more shots around the rim and making the 3-point shot an even bigger part of his game.

And-Ones: Towns, Media Rights, California Classic, Howard

Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns has been named the NBA’s Social Justice Champion for the 2023/24 season, the league announced in a press release.

The four-time All-Star is a voting rights advocate and supported Minnesota’s Restore the Vote bill last year, which “restores the right to vote to thousands of formerly incarcerated individuals.” Towns also advocates for changes to the criminal justice and education systems in the U.S.

Heat center Bam Adebayo, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum, Thunder wing Lindy Waters and Clippers guard Russell Westbrook were the other finalists.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • On an earnings call, TNT (Warner Bros. Discovery) CEO David Zaslav was cautiously optimistic about retaining media rights to NBA games, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “We’ve had a lot of time to prepare for this negotiation, and we have strategies in place for the various potential outcomes,” Zaslav said. “However, now is not the time to discuss any of this since we are in active negotiations with the league. And under our current deal with the NBA, we have matching rights that allow us to match third-party offers before the NBA enters into an agreement with them.”
  • Zaslav’s comments came on the heels of various reports saying NBC has submitted a $2.5 billion bid to be the league’s third media rights partner, joining ESPN/ABC (Disney) and Amazon, which already have framework deals in place. According to Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal, NBC is still viewed as the frontrunner, ahead of TNT.
  • The 2024 California Classic will be co-hosted by the Kings and Warriors, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. California’s Summer League – a prelude to Las Vegas Summer League – will take place from July 6-10 and will feature 12 total games. The Kings, Hornets and Spurs will play in Sacramento and the Warriors, Lakers and Heat will play in San Francisco. Sacramento will head to the Chase Center to face Golden State on July 10 to wrap up the event, Anderson writes.
  • Former NBA guard Markus Howard was granted permission to play for Puerto Rico ahead of the country’s Olympic qualifying tournament this summer, the federation announced in a press release. The former Marquette star led the EuroLeague in scoring while playing for Spain’s Baskonia this season, BasketNews notes. “We are very happy to welcome Markus to our national team,” said Carlos Arroyo, general manager of Puerto Rico’s national team. “Markus has become one of the best players in Europe, and for us, it is a luxury to have him. His offensive level will raise the expectations of our team.”

Southeast Notes: Young, Adebayo, Heat, Kispert

As rumors continue to swirl about his future with the Hawks, Trae Young has changed agents, announcing (via Twitter) that he has signed with CAA Sports. He was previously represented by Klutch Sports.

Marc Stein reported last month that Young’s father Rayford Young recently became a certified NBA agent, but it’s unclear if Rayford will be part of his son’s group of reps at CAA.

A three-time All-Star, Young is coming off another strong statistical season, having averaged 25.7 points and a career-high 10.8 assists in 36.0 minutes per game across 54 starts for Atlanta. However, the Hawks have posted a sub-.500 record across the last three seasons and have only won three total playoff games during that stretch, so there’s an expectation that major changes are coming to the roster this summer, possibly affecting Young or backcourt mate Dejounte Murray.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After finishing third in Defensive Player of the Year voting, Bam Adebayo‘s last chance to meet the super-max performance criteria this spring is to claim a spot on one of the league’s three All-NBA teams, notes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. If he doesn’t earn All-NBA honors, the Heat big man will still be eligible for a very lucrative contract extension this summer, worth up to approximately $165MM over three years. However, a super-max deal would be worth significantly more than that ($245MM over four years), and Adebayo could still meet the criteria with an All-NBA nod or DPOY win in 2025, so there’s no guarantee he’ll pursue an extension this summer.
  • Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald believes it’s time to consider a roster overhaul in Miami, arguing that the Heat‘s current core isn’t good enough to win a title and that the “root-canal offense” needs to change. Jackson suggests that the front office should seriously weigh the possibility of trading Jimmy Butler or making a “significant lateral move” if the team’s non-Butler and non-Adebayo assets aren’t enough to acquire a third star.
  • While Deni Avdija‘s breakout performance received more attention, third-year Wizards wing Corey Kispert may have raised his long-term ceiling in 2023/24 by becoming more of a three-level scoring threat instead of just a three-point shooter, writes Bijan Todd of Monumental Sports Network. According to Todd, new Wizards general manager Will Dawkins and president Michael Winger spoke to Kispert before last season about expanding his game and getting to the rim more often. “[Attacking the rim] changed everything. It changed everything. It seemed like my first two years, if I put the ball on the floor, the other team was just cool with it. That’s what they wanted me to do,” Kispert said. “But now it felt a little bit different. It felt like there were multiple layers to what teams had to do to stop what I was trying to do. Just because I put the ball on the deck doesn’t mean the job’s done for the defense anymore.”

Rudy Gobert Named Defensive Player Of Year For Fourth Time

Rudy Gobert has been named the Defensive Player of the Year for the fourth time in his career, the NBA announced on Tuesday (via Twitter).

The Timberwolves center joins Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace as the only four-time winners of the award. Gobert also claimed the award in 2018, 2019, and 2021 when he played for Utah.

Spurs big man Victor Wembanyama, who was unanimously voted the Rookie of the Year on Tuesday, finished second in the voting, with the Heat‘s Bam Adebayo a distant third.

Gobert was the league’s second-leading rebounder (12.9 per game) and sixth-leading shot-blocker (2.1). More significantly, he anchored a Timberwolves defense that held opponents to a league-low 106.5 points per game during the regular season. Minnesota was also best in defensive field goal percentage, limiting opponents to 39.0 percent shooting.

Gobert received 72 of a possible 99 first-place votes while compiling 433 points. Wembanyama, who was the league’s top shot-blocker at 3.6 per game, received 19 first-place votes and earned 245 points.

Adebayo received three first-place votes and wound up with 91 points, eight more than fourth-place finisher Anthony Davis of the Lakers (four first-place votes).

Pelicans forward Herbert Jones finished fifth and Celtics guard Jrue Holiday, who notched the other first-place vote, was sixth. The full voting results can be found here.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Harris, Wizards, Adebayo, Butler

The playoff experience that the young Magic players were excited to get now includes the intense pressure of a Game 7, writes Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando faces Cleveland this afternoon with the season on the line for both squads, and Wendell Carter Jr. believes he and his teammates are in the right frame of mind for a victory.

“We didn’t come all this way to just lose a Game 7,” Carter said.

Beede notes that for the Magic to win, they’ll have to find a reliable source of offense. Orlando has lost all three games at Cleveland so far and has the second-worst offensive rating on the road in the playoffs, slightly ahead of the Cavaliers.

“We kind of look at it as another game,” Carter said. “There’s a little bit more urgency, of course, but we never want to get too high or too low for games like this. That’s what the great players do. As a unit, we’re super excited to be in this position.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic will have Gary Harris available for Game 7, Beede tweets. The veteran swingman had been listed as questionable after missing Game 6 with a strained right hamstring. Coach Jamahl Mosley declined to tell reporters whether Harris will start or come off the bench.
  • This offseason marks the next step in the Wizards‘ rebuilding process that team president Michael Winger and general manager Will Dawkins began last summer, observes Chase Hughes of Monumental Sports Network. After they were hired, the focus was on ridding the team of high-priced vets such as Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis. Now they’ll try to build up the roster, starting with another high lottery pick in this year’s draft. “It won’t be an easier an offseason, it will be a [different offseason]. We did a lot of heavy lifting last offseason and we moved humongous features of the organization,” Winger said. “We don’t necessarily have to do that this offseason. So, this offseason is probably a lot of incremental moves whereas last offseason was a few significant moves.”
  • Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel looks at important dates for the Heat‘s offseason. Two of the most significant are July 6, when Bam Adebayo will become eligible for a three-year, $165MM extension (which could be much larger if he wins Defensive Player of the Year or is named to an All-NBA team) and July 7, when Jimmy Butler will be eligible for a two-year, $112.9MM extension.

Heat Notes: Butler, Herro, Trade Assets, Bam

All-NBA Heat forward Jimmy Butler is expected to seek a two-year, maximum-salary contract extension with Miami, worth approximately $113MM, before the start of the 2024/25 season, a source tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

The theoretical deal would kick in for 2025/26. Butler has a $52.4MM player option for that year, which the extension would replace.

If Miami opts to not extend Butler, Chiang argues, the team could be faced with an unhappy star. The 34-year-old swingman led the Heat to two NBA Finals appearances – and an additional appearance in the Eastern Finals – during his first four seasons with the club, though he has dealt with a series of injuries, including an MCL sprain that knocked him entirely out of the playoffs this year.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald speculates about the potential trade haul Miami could receive in exchange for its best player should the team opt not to extend Butler.

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Following a first-round playoff elimination marred by injuries, the Heat face a variety of questions about their future this offseason. The biggest, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel contends, surrounds what Miami brass wants to do with shooting guard Tyler Herro. Winderman wonders if Miami will look to trade the 2022 Sixth Man of the Year this summer, or if it will consider demoting him back to a bench role going forward. Herro is owed $93MM across the remaining three years of his deal.
  • With the Heat set to explore the trade market this summer, Jackson takes stock of the club’s movable assets, consulting with a rival scout on the value of those pieces. The scout criticized Herro’s inconsistency both as a player and as an injury risk. As far as young players still on rookie scale deals go, the scout is high on the ceilings of forwards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic. The scout also addressed the contracts of guards Duncan Robinson and Terry Rozier, Miami being a potential trade destination for Cavaliers All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, and more.
  • One fascinating potential internal change the Heat could consider, according to one alum who still works for the franchise, is shifting All-Star center Bam Adebayo from center to power forward, writes Jackson in another piece. While on the ESPN program “First Take” this week, 20-year Miami vet Udonis Haslem explained why he thinks the 6’9″ big man could benefit from a positional move. “He can guard all five positions but he would have even more of a matchup at the 4 position where we can post him up and do different things with him,” Haslem said. “Go for a center and possibly another scoring guard.” Haslem is currently the Heat’s vice president of basketball development, and also hosts a podcast with fellow ex-Heat champion Mike Miller.