Next season could be the end of the line for “Heat lifer” Udonis Haslem, writes Surya Fernandez of Fox Sports Florida. Haslem, who has been with Miami since 2003, will make $2.9MM in 2015/16 during the final season of a two-year contract. Although he can pursue free agency, at age 36 he might find few interested parties outside of Miami. Teammate Dwyane Wade said he would be happy to have Haslem back. “I always feel like we have a great shot when he is on the floor because he will bring something that no one else can bring,” Wade said.
There’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- A New Hampshire mathematics professor has identified the Magic’s Tobias Harris as the NBA’s most underrated player, according to Brian Schmitz of The Orlando Sentinel. Harris, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, got high marks for his ability to shoot three-pointers, drive, rebound and defend.
- The Bucks will likely make roster changes this summer, but they would like to keep Khris Middleton, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The team hopes the restricted free agent will choose to stay in Milwaukee and be part of the team’s young core. Co-owner Marc Lasry noted that it’s easier in the NBA to do a one-year turnaround than to maintain success. “Well, I think next year is going to be harder,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be harder. People won’t take us lightly.”
- It’s been a long journey for the Hawks‘ Mike Budenholzer to go from a small Arizona town to becoming a successful NBA coach, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Budenholzer’s pro experience started as a film coordinator for the Spurs in 1994. He was promoted to assistant coach two years later, and stayed in San Antonio for 17 more years before landing the head coaching position with the Hawks. “One of the things that’s amazing to me is his demeanor,” said his father, Vince Budenholzer. “The Hawks don’t panic and that’s him staying calm. I think we’ll give the other Pop [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich] credit for that.”