Udonis Haslem Re-Signs With Heat For 20th, Final Season

AUGUST 23: The Heat have officially re-signed Haslem, the team announced today in a press release.

“From the first day that I saw him compete, to the last day when we retire his jersey at our FTX home, UD will go down in our team’s history as one of the best to ever play for the Miami HEAT,” team president Pat Riley said in a statement.

AUGUST 21: Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem announced on Sunday at his Miami-based youth basketball camp that he will return for a 20th and final NBA season with the club, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Earlier this week, Haslem had indicated he would reveal his decision on his playing future at the camp.

“Got one more in me for Pop,” Haslem said, referencing his late father, as Reynolds tweets. “Got one more in me for the city. Got one more in me for the team.” 

Per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald (via Twitter), the 6’8″ big man out of Florida is set to retire from the league following the 2022/23 season. “One more year,” Haslem said.

Chiang adds (Twitter link) that Haslem’s father, who passed away last August, had long hoped his son would suit up for 20 NBA seasons.

After four productive collegiate seasons with the Gators, Haslem went undrafted in 2002. He headed overseas for his first professional basketball experience, joining French club Chalon-Sur-Saône during the 2002/03 season. Haslem joined Miami for the ’03/04 campaign, with his play netting him a spot on the 2004 All-Rookie Second Team.

Only eight players in league history have played for 20 seasons or more. Haslem will join his former Heat teammate, current Lakers All-Star forward LeBron James, as the ninth and tenth such players to reach that benchmark. Additionally, Haslem will become just the third player ever to suit up for just one team for 20 seasons, joining Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki.

Haslem has long since transitioned from being a key rotation player with Miami to taking on a far more limited role. The 42-year-old has appeared in just 58 regular season contests since the start of 2016/17, serving as more of a valuable locker room voice and practice player. Last year, Haslem played 13 times in the regular season, averaging 2.5 PPG and 1.9 RPG in 6.4 MPG. He hasn’t appeared in a playoff game since 2016.

For his career, Haslem boasts averages of 7.5 PPG, on 48.9% shooting, and 6.6 RPG. He was a crucial role player on five Miami teams that made the Finals between 2006-14, winning championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013. In his current role as essentially a player-coach, Haslem helped guide the Heat to another Finals appearance, his sixth with the team, in 2020.

By latching on with Miami for a veteran’s minimum contract, Haslem will be the 14th player signed to the team’s standard 15-man roster. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweets that the addition of Haslem will put Miami just $200K beneath this season’s $150,267,000 luxury tax line.

As Bobby Marks of ESPN adds (via Twitter), the Heat will probably leave their final 15-man roster spot unfilled to avoid the tax, unless they can cut costs elsewhere. They’ll be able to sign a 15th man late in the season when the prorated minimum salary dips below $200K.

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