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Miami exercises fourth-year contract option on Bam Adebayo

The Miami Heat announced on Wednesday they have exercised their fourth-year team option on center Bam Adebayo.

The Heat traded Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers this summer, which means Adebayo will be the full-time starter next season.

In 2018-19, Bam Adebayo averaged 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists while shooting 57.6 percent from the field. He will make $3.5 million next season and $5.1 million in 2020-21.

The Heat’s roster is headlined by Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Derrick Jones Jr., James Johnson, Meyers Leonard, Udonis Haslem and Bam Adebayo. Miami is obviously going to go as far as Butler can take them, but the development of Adebayo is key as well.

The Heat missed the playoffs last season, so they will be hungry to make it in 2019-20. Adebayo put up 11.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in 28 games as a starter last season. Many around the league believe the 22-year-old has a chance to win the 2020 Most Improved Player of the Year Award.

Miami values Adebayo so much so it didn’t want to include him in a trade for Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul this summer. Adebayo says his confidence went up after finding out the Heat didn’t want to part ways with him this offseason.