Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem Remains Undecided On Retirement

After watching his longtime teammate Dwyane Wade enjoy a farewell tour in his final NBA season, Udonis Haslem remains undecided on retirement, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes.

If Haslem decides to play next year, it will be his 17th NBA season — all with the Heat. The 38-year-old has settled into a mentor role over the last three seasons, appearing in just 40 games in that stretch. Despite his limited minutes, head coach Erik Spoelstra said he would “love to have” Haslem back.

For Haslem, the decision will be up to his family, who he said want to see him receive a similar farewell to Wade.

“Me and my wife have talked about, me and my family have talked about it,” Haslem said. “Although nothing on the scale of what Dwyane has done for his ‘One Last Dance,’ a lot of people feel like I should take the time to be celebrated at some point. Even though personally as the person I am, I’m kind of like whatever.

“But I feel like the Haslem family as a whole deserves the opportunity to celebrate when my career does come to an end. So that has some effect on the decision that we make, and my wife is adamant about me letting people celebrate me at some point.”

Haslem turns 39 years old in June and would presumably return on a veteran’s minimum salary if he re-signs with Miami. The offseason has not even officially started, so the Miami native does not need to make a decision anytime. But his leadership in recent years would make for a valuable addition, according to Spoelstra.

“His leadership is something that everybody and every franchise in the league is looking to add to their team,” he said. “We have it in-house, built-in.”

Pat Riley Speaks On State Of Heat

James Johnson and Dion Waiters would be entering free agency if things had gone differently for the Heat in the summer of 2017, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

At a press conference today, team president Pat Riley said he would have signed both players for two seasons instead of four if Miami had been able to land free agent targets Kevin Durant or Gordon Hayward. Once Durant picked the Warriors and Hayward signed with the Celtics, Riley agreed to longer contracts with both Johnson and Waiters.

“On July 1, I didn’t want to be left with nobody,” he said. “After five days of Gordon having to make a decision, I didn’t want to lose some players we had. I do know James had a deal [elsewhere if Miami didn’t sign him]. It was my decision. I didn’t want to lose all three of them.”

That decision left the Heat with two more expensive contracts that could help push the team $35MM above the cap next season, assuming Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic both opt in.

“We weren’t thinking of room after we lost Kevin Durant and Hayward,” Riley said. “We were thinking we had that 30-11 team come back [Miami’s record in the second half of the 2016/17 season]. We thought the contracts we gave were long-term contracts. That’s on me. You can put that all on me. We didn’t land Hayward and I didn’t want [to lose] the other two guys.”

Riley covered a wealth of topics during today’s session with the media. Here are a few, courtesy of Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald:

  • Even if the Lakers were to make an offer, Riley won’t consider going to L.A. to take over for Magic Johnson. “There’s no doubt that I have a history with that team,” he said. “I have a lot of friends inside the organization. … But I’m not going to be a part of that.”
  • Riley wants coach Erik Spoelstra to find ways to get Whiteside and Bam Adebayo on the court at the same time. Despite being Miami’s highest-paid player, Whiteside averaged just 17 minutes per night over the final 19 games.
  • Riley said Waiters was slowed all season after ankle surgery and was “playing this year on 1 1/2 ankles.” He added that conditioning will be vital for Waiters next season. “I talked to him yesterday,” Riley said. “He knows. He has five months. If he gets his conditioning to world class condition, he can get back [to where he was for 25 excellent games two years ago]. I’m confident he will do it. His career is on the line.”
  • No matter what happens, tanking won’t be part of the Heat’s plans, Riley insists, noting how hard it is to fall into the bottom five in the league.
  • Riley encourages Udonis Haslem to take some time to decide whether he wants to return next season. Haslem has barely played over the past three years, but the Heat are willing to give him a roster spot for the veteran leadership he provides.
  • Duncan Robinson and Yante Maten, who were both signed through 2020/21 in the closing days of the season, may have a future with the team. “I give Duncan and Yante As,” Riley said. “They dominated the [G-League] the way you want them to dominate. That was the best team in the league for a while. We think both of them can develop and you don’t know how far they can go.”
  • Unless they get lucky in the lottery, the Heat will have the 13th pick in the draft, but Riley is optimistic they can find a contributor there. “I am not going to name names, but I’ve seen 30 players that are very good players,” he said. “At 13, I do think we would get something equivalent to who we have on our team right now, Bam, Justise [Winslow], Josh [Richardson] and Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Riley called Dwyane Wade‘s final season “pure love” as the Heat said goodbye to their all-time leading scorer.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Lottery, McGruder, Haslem

Heat center Hassan Whiteside isn’t the only Miami veteran with a player option decision to make this offseason. As Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes, point guard Goran Dragic will also need to make a choice as to whether he will opt in to his $19.2MM salary for the 2019/20 season or test the open market.

Dragic believes it’s still too early to make a decision on next year, stating that he will first need to speak with his family and agent to determine what the best next step will be. “There’s a lot of factors,” Dragic said. “I’ll try to do what is best for my career, for my family. It’s going to require to talk a lot and see from there what’s going to be best.”

When specifically asked whether the player option decision will be a difficult one, Dragic had a straightforward response. “I mean, if it would be a simple decision, probably I would already know now. So, yeah.”

There is more out of South Beach tonight:

  • Within the same article, Chiang also notes that the Heat, tied for the best record among lottery teams, only have a 4.7 percent chance at landing one of the top-four picks in this year’s draft (1.0 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, 1.1 percent chance at the No. 2 pick, 1.2 percent chance at the No. 3 pick, and a 1.4 percent chance at the No. 4 pick).
  • In a Q&A piece, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel notes that the Heat probably made a bad decision when they decided to let Rodney McGruder go for financial reasons. The Heat have built their organization on the premise of a certain culture, and making a decision premised on finances rather than basketball flies in the face of that culture.
  • In another piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman writes that 16-year veteran forward Udonis Haslem will need some time to decompress before deciding whether to return for another season. Head coach Erik Spoelstra hopes Haslem returns, saying “He’s sacrificed as much as anybody, obviously. But UD can still play. He still can. We see it all the time in practices. We have a bunch of young bigs that he’s really taken on ownership to mentor and to help develop and everything.”

Heat Notes: Maten, Robinson, Haslem, Waiters

The Heat‘s confidence in Yante Maten‘s offensive game led the team to sign him a new contract this morning, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Playing all season on a two-way deal, the undrafted rookie forward out of Georgia was signed for the three games of this season, along with a partial guarantee over the next two years. His salary for 2020/21 becomes fully guaranteed if he makes the opening night roster this fall.

Maten had a productive season in the G League, averaging 23.5 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game despite missing time in January and February with an ankle injury. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra believes Maten would have been in the running for MVP honors if he hadn’t gotten hurt.

“He’s got a great offensive skill set,” Spoelstra said. “You can’t teach that kind of touch for somebody of his size. He’s a gym rat, very coachable. We’re looking forward to growing with him. He’s a good kid.”

There’s more out of Miami:

  • With an available roster spot remaining, the Heat are considering a standard contract for their other two-way player, Duncan Robinson, Jackson reports in the same story. Robinson played 13 games for Miami this season and must be given a standard deal to become eligible for the playoffs.
  • Udonis Haslem has barely played over the past three seasons, but Spoelstra will lobby him to return for another year, Jackson adds. The team believes Haslem’s leadership is worth investing a roster spot, even though he has appeared in just eight games this season. “I’m going to try to convince him to keep on going,” Spoelstra said. “He has the right to take his time, and that’s what he’s going to do. But at least we got him to that point, where it’s not an automatic package deal with Dwyane [Wade]. That would be fitting, but I would like to see him continue. We need it and what he brings to the table is what so many organizations are missing — that leadership, knowledge, somebody that really understands your culture. I will respect whatever decision he makes, but I am going to recruit him hard this summer.”
  • Dion Waiters‘ late-season performance may have dissuaded the Heat from trying to trade him this summer, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. However, he adds that conditioning will be important and Waiters will need to meet his weight requirement for training camp to prove his commitment to management. He still has two years and $24.75MM left on his contract.

Southeast Notes: Beal, Carter-Williams, Haslem, Young

The next general manager of the Wizards will be tasked with making a major decision on star guard Bradley Beal, David Aldridge of The Athletic writes.

Beal, named to his second All-Star team this season, has transformed into Washington’s clear leader in the absence of John Wall. He’s averaging a career-high 25.9 points per game on 48% shooting from the field, due to make $27MM next season and $28.7MM the following season.

“I’m not saying you have to trade him,” one NBA executive told Aldridge of Beal. “But you do have to think about it.”

Between Beal and Wall, the next Wizards GM will find more interest around the league in Beal’s services. Wall is under contract for another four seasons ($37.8MM in 2019/20, $40.8MM in 2020/21, $43.8MM in 2021/22 and a $46.9MM player option in 2022/23). That, combined with Wall’s surgeries on his heel and ruptured Achilles this year, make trading him virtually impossible in the present day.

For the Wizards, deciding whether to keep or trade Beal in the coming months will determine their future course. The general manager position — which was vacated when the team dismissed Ernie Grunfeld this week — is said to appeal to current GMs under contract elsewhere largely due to the resources and geography that comes with the job, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links).

There’s more from the Southeast Division today:

  • Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams is proving to be a difference maker as the team looks to make a final push for the playoffs, John Denton of NBA.com writes. Orlando signed Carter-Williams to a rest-of-season contract on Thursday, waiving guard Isaiah Briscoe. Carter-Williams provided a much-needed boost of energy off the bench during his first two 10-day contracts, scoring 5.4 points and dishing out 3.7 assists in 18.7 minutes per outing.
  • Heat veteran Udonis Haslem reflected on his storied 16-year career in an exclusive article relayed by Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated, looking back on his competitors, teammates, early upbringing and love for the game of basketball. Haslem has spent the past few seasons in a very limited on-court role, doing most of his work on the Heat with the younger players in practice and in the locker room. Haslem’s veteran presence is greatly valued by Miami’s coaching staff and players, many of whom have publicly stated their hopes of him returning for another season.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst chronicles the slow build to success for Hawks guard Trae Young, who continues to improve as the 2018/19 season nears the finish line. Young, a dominant shooter and passer in contention for the Rookie of the Year award, must continue to improve on defense in order to take his game to the next level. The Hawks hold major selling points of Young, John Collins, a new head coach in Lloyd Pierce, cap flexibility and future draft picks for star players entering free agency this summer.

Dwyane Wade Open To Forming Group In Pursuit Of Owning NBA Team

Dwyane Wade‘s playing career is coming to an end and the 13-time All-Star would like to own an NBA team. The Heat would be his first choice, though owner Micky Arison has shown no interest in selling, so a minority ownership role appears to be the only available way to own a piece of the team he helped lead to three championships.

If Wade joins the franchise in such a role, he would want to be involved in personnel decisions to some extent, as he tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

“You want to learn that side,” Wade said of the front office. “You want to be a continued part of helping the game grow. For me, I would love to be a continued part of helping this organization grow.”

Wade added that he wouldn’t need to have final say on basketball decisions, telling Jackson that he wouldn’t want to have that “pressure” on him.

“Right now, you just want to get your feet wet,” Wade said of his willingness to be a minority owner during his first venture. “I’m definitely open to seeing what the possibilities are and go from there.”

The three-time NBA champion plans to reach out to Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson to discuss life as a professional franchise owner. Wade added that he has spoken with long-time teammate Udonis Haslem about the possibility of being an owner of an NBA club.

“Our conversations have been more about owning a team, not owning this team,” Haslem explained. “That would be amazing. I would never thought I would be owning Subways, Starbucks and Einsteins, so who’s to say that would be out of my cards? It’s definitely possible.”

Haslem is planning to play at least one more season, while Wade is unlikely to join him for it.

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Haslem, Jack, Anderson

Heat center Hassan Whiteside is accepting his new reserve role without complaining, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside came off the bench Monday for the first time since he signed a four-year, $98MM contract in July of 2016. Whiteside, who missed the prior three games because of a hip injury, hasn’t been told how long the change will last.

“I came off a 29, 11 game, got hurt. This is what [coach Erik Spoelstra] wants to go with,” Whiteside said. “Can’t do nothing [but] just accept [it] and come out and dominate.”

That represents a change from last season, when Whiteside was vocal about his reduced playing time. Jackson notes that Spoelstra likes the inside combination of Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk and may give them more time to see how they perform as starters. Whiteside, who has a $27MM player option for next season, is trying to make the best of the situation.

“I’m going to keep coming in and try to play the best I can out there,” he said. “It’s going to be a different unit out there. I get to play with (Dwyane Wade) more. I get to look at the bright side. You’re going to play against the backup guys. It’s a little different. You can read the game a little more, kind of see what’s going on, who’s hot, what kind of schemes they’re going with. It gives you some advantages.”

There’s more today from Miami:

  • After barely playing all season, 38-year-old Udonis Haslem has gotten first-half minutes in three of Miami’s last four games, Jackson adds in the same story. Haslem, who has indicated he would like to play another year, has appeared in just seven games and logged 28 minutes. “In short bursts, he has given our team a great emotional boost,” Spoelstra said. “Not only do I trust him, but the players trust him.”
  • Spoelstra said the Heat have always been “intrigued” by veteran guard Jarrett Jack, Jackson tweets. However, the organization has no plans to add Jack, even though it has two open roster spots. The 35-year-old signed a G League contract last week and was claimed yesterday by Miami’s affiliate in Sioux Falls.
  • Ryan Anderson has only played four games and 16 minutes since being acquired from the Suns last month and he probably won’t see much more action, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. The Heat plan to waive Anderson before his $21.26MM salary for next season becomes fully guaranteed on July 10, and they don’t want to risk an injury that might complicate that strategy.

Udonis Haslem Leaning Toward One More Season

While Dwyane Wade hasn’t wavered on his decision to retire at the end of the 2018/19 season, longtime Heat teammate Udonis Haslem has been less certain about his future plans. Haslem initially suggested he would likely call it a career after the season, but recently said he remains undecided. Now, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, Haslem is tentatively planning to return to the Heat for 2019/20.

“I am leaning towards doing one more season,” Haslem said to Jackson. “But it’s not 100 percent. For me, physically and mentally I’m still 100 percent engaged to help these guys get where they need to go. It’s just about the time. Is it time to do something different?”

Haslem and Wade came into the NBA together, joining the Heat in 2003. Wade briefly left South Beach for ill-fated stints with the Bulls and Cavaliers in recent years, but the two veterans have otherwise been together with the Heat for their entire NBA careers. Still, Haslem tells Jackson that he doesn’t feel as if the two friends need to retire at the same time.

“I’m leaning toward [playing another season] because as I watch Dwyane go, it’s more and more clear to me that even though we came in together and want to finish together, our careers have taken different paths,” Haslem said. “That doesn’t mean we’re separated. But our careers have gone different ways. We started together and are going to finish here together, but it doesn’t mean we have to finish at the same time. That’s something that becomes more and more clear as you watch these paths go the way they’re going.”

Haslem, 38, hasn’t played major minutes for the Heat in years, having averaged no more than 8.1 minutes per game since the 2014/15 season. In 2018/19, he has played just four times, logging 15 total minutes. However, the big man’s value in the locker room and on the bench more than makes up for his limited on-court contributions, teammate Goran Dragic explained last spring.

“It’s really tough to explain to people outside what he means to this team,” Dragic said at the time. “Everybody is looking, ‘OK, he’s not playing,’ but they don’t know how much he brings to this team, especially with his experience and leadership.”

The Heat’s offseason plans are unlikely to be impacted by Haslem’s decision, since he’d simply fill out the 15-man roster on a minimum salary deal if he returns.

Udonis Haslem Undecided On Retirement

Despite originally declaring his plans to retire at the end of the season, veteran Heat forward Udonis Haslem is now undecided on his future, according to Shandel Richardson of The Athletic.

“I’m not 100 percent sure I’m done,” Haslem said. “I know I said I had nothing else to prove. It’s coming close but, man, I still have so much to give. … We’ll see. I’m going to talk to [Heat CEO] Nick Arison and talk to the guys and just weigh my options. I’ve still got the fire to burn. I’ve still got something to contribute.”

Haslem has only played in four games with the Heat this season, logging 15 minutes in total. He has spent his entire 16-season career with the organization, dating back to his first contract in the summer of 2003.

Haslem previously claimed he had “nothing left to do” in an interview with Basketball Insiders’ David Yapkowitz last month, making clear his intentions to retire with longtime teammate Dwyane Wade once the season ends.

“They [Wade and Haslem] don’t have to make their decisions together,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “UD means so much to our culture, particularly when he’s in uniform, and that’s not dependent on how many minutes he’s playing in a game. I would love for him to come back. If that means we have to let everything just kind of settle after the season, give him a little bit of time and then we can put on our recruiting hats again. When free agency starts, he’ll be No. 1 on my list.”

Haslem is expected to discuss a possible return with the Heat this summer once the team chooses a direction in free agency, according to Richardson, who adds that the team would welcome him back for another season.

Haslem, 38, holds career-averages of 7.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 25.3 minutes as the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder with 5,717 boards. He won NBA championships with the team in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Udonis Haslem Likely To Retire After 2018/19 Season

JANUARY 8, 10:42am: Haslem addressed the subject of his retirement again today, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, who tweets that the veteran said he’s 90% sure he’ll call it a career at season’s end.

JANUARY 7, 9:45pm: One longtime Heat player will call it a career at the end of this season, with Dwyane Wade having already announced that he plans to retire in 2019. A second Miami veteran appears likely to join him in retirement, as Udonis Haslem told David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders that the 2018/19 season will probably be his last.

“I’m gonna call it done too. There’s nothing else left for me to do on the basketball court,” Haslem said. “My kids are getting older, my son is playing college football at the University of Toledo, my 11-year-old is playing travel baseball and I never see him as he’s always out of town. My eight-year-old is playing travel basketball. There’s so many other things for me to be engaged in right now.”

While Haslem’s comments sound pretty definitive, and echo ones he made in the fall, Haslem suggested to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter links) that he’s not making anything official just yet.

“I mean, the people that are close to me and that I’ve spoken to about it, they pretty much know what the situation is,” Haslem said. “But, at the same time… I just want to wait until the end of the season and weigh my options. Physically, I can still play. Mentally, my mind still thinks the game.”

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes (via Twitter), Haslem believes he’s still capable of playing and “desperately” wants to do so — it kills him not to see more action, says Reynolds. While Haslem has suggested he’ll likely retire at season’s end, the Heat would probably be willing to bring him back for another season, according to Reynolds.

Haslem, who will turn 39 in June, has been a member of the Heat since 2003, but has seen his playing time cut back significantly in recent years. After appearing in 14 games last season, he has played in three so far in 2018/19.