Udonis Haslem

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Kulboka, Simpson, Simon

Heat veteran forward Udonis Haslem, who re-signed with Miami for a 17th season just yesterday, will not commit to this being his final season, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Winderman adds in a separate tweet that Haslem will not treat the 2019/20 season as a farewell tour, but given Haslem’s primary status as a reserve for the Heat, it’s probably too presumptive to conclude from that alone that this won’t be his last season.

Finally, Winderman opines that unless someone like former Heat player Yante Maten ends up flourishing for another team in the near future, the signing of Haslem as a veteran locker room presence is well worth using up the last roster spot.

There’s more news out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Hornets draft-and-stash prospect Arnoldas Kulboka, a 21-year-old Lithuanian swingman who was drafted No. 55 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft, has officially signed his contract with RETAbet Bilbao Basket of Liga ACB, reports Donatas Urbonas (Twitter link).
  • Per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports WashingtonWizards point guard John Wall believes that teammate Bradley Beal will sign the three-year, $112MM contract extension being offered by Washington despite the financial reasons for not doing so, as we’ve detailed.
  • The Wizards have officially announced the hiring of Mark Simpson as the team’s new vice president of player performance. Simpson has spent the last three seasons as director of performance for the Clippers, where he oversaw the team’s player load management strategies.
  • Undrafted St. John’s rookie guard Justin Simon recently underwent a workout with the Heat, but left without a contract, reports Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

Udonis Haslem Re-Signs With Heat

AUGUST 6: Haslem posted a message on Instagram today confirming that he’ll return to the Heat for the 2019/20 season, and the team has issued a press release announcing that the deal is official. The veteran signed a one-year contract with Miami, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

AUGUST 5: Big man Udonis Haslem is expected to return to the Heat for a 17th season, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.

Haslem, 39, has indicated he’s strongly leaning toward playing another year. The likely return of Haslem was a major reason why the team waived forward Yante Maten a week ago rather than having another partial guarantee in his contract kick in. The Heat are hard-capped and needed to create enough room for a veteran’s minimum contract.

Haslem would receive a $2.6MM contract but only $1.6MM would count against Miami’s cap. The Heat would look to add another veteran if Haslem decides to retire, Jackson adds. The team currently has 11 players with guaranteed contracts and a handful of others with partially- or non-guaranteed deals.

Haslem’s veteran leadership is valued, but he hasn’t contributed much on the court in recent years. He’s only appeared in 40 games over the last three seasons, including 10 last season. Haslem made an Instagram post in June to answer critics who urged him not to return.

Heat Notes: Hard-Cap Crunch, Dragic, Nunn

The Heat may have a logjam for their final roster spots in 2019/20, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Given that the team is hard-capped due to the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, Miami’s best bet of avoiding the $138.9MM hard cap may well be to avoid adding a 15th player.

Removing that 15th slot makes Pat Riley‘s task of rounding out a roster all that much more difficult. According to Jackson, all of Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and even Udonis Haslem could be competing for Heats’ 13th and 14th roster spots.

Riley’s no stranger to making difficult decisions but with Butler on board and a higher ceiling now within reach, the Heat may still be inclined to add external support, too. Jackson presents DeMarcus Cousins as a possibility.

Jackson notes that the Heat are still exploring trade options and it’s understandable why. Simply consolidating talent could solve both the team’s problems, freeing up a roster slot while potentially adding an impact rotation player.

There’s more from Miami today:

  • Among the consolation prizes for the Lakers if they do end up missing out on Kawhi Leonard could be Heat veteran Goran Dragic. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates that the 33-year-old could be a good, short-term fit for the squad as it builds out its roster.
  • There’s a chance that Pat Riley may have drafted differently had he known that Jimmy Butler would be on his roster by the end of the summer, but Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reminds readers that lottery pick Tyler Herro will still have plenty of value as a shooter.
  • If the Heat want to convert Kendrick Nunn‘s standard contract into a two-way deal, they’ll need to do so before August 1, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. On that day, an additional $150,000 of his contract becomes guaranteed. The collective bargaining agreement forbids teams from converting players with more than $50,000 protection over to two-way deals. Waiving Nunn would expose him to waivers and he may get claimed.

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Magic, Haslem, McDaniels

It has been nearly five months since the Magic acquired Markelle Fultz in a deadline deal with the 76ers, but Orlando still isn’t sure when the former No. 1 pick will suit up for the team. As GM John Hammond recently explained during an appearance on 96.9 The Game (hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports), it won’t happen in next month’s Summer League.

“He will not play in Summer League with us,” Hammond said. “We didn’t think there was any way that he was going to do that. We didn’t plan on him doing that. So, probably not the place for him right now. But overall, I can just say that he’s doing well.”

Hammond went on to say that Fultz – who was diagnosed last season with thoracic outlet syndrome – has been working “extremely hard” and is in “great shape,” with the Magic hoping he makes his debut for the team sooner rather than later.

“We want to have patience with him and get him ready and put him on the court when he can be most productive,” Hammond added.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Magic will face difficult decisions on their top two free agents, Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, according to Josh Robbins of The Athletic, who points out that bringing back both players could limit both the team’s long-term flexibility and its ceiling. In a separate story, Robbins examines the Magic’s cap situation for this summer, observing that the team won’t have any cap room if it brings back either one of Vucevic or Ross.
  • As he considers whether or not to retire, longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem posted an Instagram message asking for support from fans rather than criticism from those who feel as if he shouldn’t occupy one of the club’s 15 roster spots.
  • Scott Fowler of The Charlotte Observer believes the Hornets made a mistake by drafting Jalen McDaniels with the No. 52 pick last Thursday night. McDaniels has been sued by two former female high school classmates who claim that he recorded them without their consent while they were performing sexual acts. At the very least, the club needs to explain to its fans why it was willing to overlook that, Fowler argues.

Heat Notes: Riley, Whiteside, Dragic, Haslem

Heat president Pat Riley spoke about the state of the Heat recently, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald passes along some of the more relevant take-aways from Riley’s comments.

Despite Justice Winslow‘s success running the point while Goran Dragic was injured last season, Riley expects Dragic to be the team’s starting point guard for the 2019/20 season. Riley also expects both Dion Waiters and James Johnson to come back strong from injuries and play a significant role.

Regarding first-round pick Tyler Herro, Riley said that the 19-year-old guard “has proven in his short time at Kentucky that he’s not only a great shooter, but he’s a competitor, he’s tough, and he can defend. We’re very excited to have him.”

Riley declined to comment on the 32nd overall pick KZ Okpala, as his rights are still owned by the Pacers. He likewise declined to speak about Bol Bol, as his rights are being traded to the Nuggets.

There’s more out of Miami this afternoon from Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:

  • Cap-strapped after both Hassan Whiteside  and Dragic opted into their player options for the 2019/20 season, the Heat are in somewhat of a holding pattern until they are able to clear those two off their books in the summer of 2020. For now, Pat Riley seems keen on encouraging Heat fans to root their young team on towards a playoff berth next season (link).
  • The Heat are likely to carry 14 players on their roster during the 2019/20 season in order to avoid the luxury tax, but will Udonis Haslem be that 14th-man (link)? It’s a possibility, and Haslem has said that his family with play a primary role in his retirement decision.
  • The conundrum the Heat face with Whiteside next season is that while he may have the chance to stay healthy and rediscover his game, how does that help Miami if they’re not a championship contender (link)? Whiteside’s contract ends after the 2019/20 season, and if the Heat are serious about developing their young core, Whiteside doesn’t really have a place on the roster past this season, so letting him stuff the stat sheet on a mediocre team for one season really does the Heat no good.

Heat Notes: Haslem, Johnson, Waiters, Anderson, Allen

Veteran big man Udonis Haslem is training hard three or four days a week with the intensity of someone who wants to play next season, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

While his longtime teammate Dwyane Wade called it a career at the end of the 2018/19 campaign, Haslem remains undecided on his future. He said during the season that he was leaning toward playing another year, and based on Jackson’s latest report, it sounds like that scenario remains very much in play.

Haslem doesn’t have a contract for next season, but the Heat have shown in recent years that they’re willing to keep bringing him back on one-year, minimum-salary contracts, despite the fact that he no longer sees much playing time for the club.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • James Johnson and Dion Waiters are considered available on the trade market this offseason, according to Barry Jackson. While I expect a number of Heat veterans to be “available” in trade talks, it’s telling that Johnson and Waiters are the ones specifically mentioned by Jackson. They both have multiple years left on their contracts, which indicates that the Heat may be looking to carve out more cap room for 2020 in addition to gaining extra flexibility in 2019.
  • Jackson writes that the Heat are expected to buy out Ryan Anderson before July 10, when his salary for 2019/20 would become fully guaranteed. While Jackson’s wording suggests that the Heat might ask Anderson to give up a little salary, the team likely wouldn’t push too hard for that, since the veteran sharpshooter previously agreed to reduce his guarantee for next season.
  • The Heat are expected to hire Malik Allen as an assistant coach on Erik Spoelstra‘s staff, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Allen, who began his NBA playing career with the Heat, would fill the position that opened up when Juwan Howard left for Michigan.
  • I previewed the Heat’s offseason earlier today.

Heat Notes: Richardson, Haslem, Draft

The Heat decided to pull back in trade discussions when discussing a Josh Richardson-centered deal for Jimmy Butler last season, but the swingman won’t be untouchable in trade talks going forward, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel relays in his latest mailbag.

Winderman writes that if Richardson is needed to complete a deal, he could be in a similar situation to Caron Butler‘s in the mid-2000s. Butler was included in the trade with the Lakers to bring Shaquille O’Neal to the Heat. Richardson, who will turn 26 in September, cooled off as a long-range marksman in 2018/19, making just 35.7% of his attempts from behind the arc. He’s under contract through the 2021/22 season (final year of the pact is a player’s option).

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem could have a role as a consultant with the Heat, Winderman contends in the same piece. Haslem remains undecided about retiring as a player, though Winderman notes that he expects the power forward to actively remain with the Heat in some capacity regardless of his official decision. Former Heat center Alonzo Mourning trains with the team and instructs younger players, though he isn’t required to travel. That wouldn’t be a bad deal if Haslem decides to retire.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. (USC) will make a visit to Miami to work out for the Heat, a source tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Jackson writes that the team is intrigued by his scoring ability, athletism, and high ceiling.
  • Pat Riley and the Heat’s brass attended Priority Sports’ Chicago workout last week to see a handful of prospects, Jackson relays in the same piece. Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke, Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, Maryland’s Bruno Fernando, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, Virginia’s Ty Jerome, Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby, Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield, DePaul’s Max Strus and Belmont’s Dylan Windler participated in drills. Jackson notes that Clarke is likely the only prospect in contention for the No. 13 overall pick.

Heat Notes: Howard, Haslem, Whiteside, Dragic

Former NBA stars have a mixed record when taking over their alma maters, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is confident that his assistant, Juwan Howard, will be successful at Michigan, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Howard accepted a five-year deal this morning to coach the Wolverines, who recently lost John Beilein to the Cavaliers.

“Juwan is an absolute star as a person, player and coach,” Spoelstra said. “I feel he is more than ready. He is a terrific leader and mentor, which translates very well to the collegiate level. While we are losing a valuable member of our staff and a great friend, I am happy for him and his family. He will forever be a champion and part of the Heat family and I am excited to see him take the next step.”

Howard has been on the staff in Miami for the past six seasons, and his duties included helping to develop Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo, so the Heat will likely seek a replacement who has experience in working with big men. Jackson notes that the team now only has two assistants, Chris Quinn and Anthony Carter, who have NBA playing experience.

There’s more news from Miami:

  • Although Udonis Haslem would be a logical choice to succeed Howard, he has stated numerous times that he doesn’t want to be a coach, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Haslem, who has spent his entire 16-year career in Miami, has morphed into a virtual assistant coach’s role, playing just 16, 14 and 10 games the past three seasons. “I don’t want to do coaching,” he said last year. “The coaching is not for me.” Haslem also hasn’t announced his retirement and may want to stay on the active roster next season.
  • Whiteside and Goran Dragic will become instant trade chips if they exercise their options for next season, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside has a $27MM option, while Dragic’s is $19.2MM, which Winderman believes is too high for either player to opt out. Both must decide by June 29.
  • The Heat may take a chance at Oregon’s Bol Bol, whose father Manute briefly played for the organization, with the No. 13 pick, Winderman writes in a separate story. Bol represents a gamble because he’s recovering from a foot injury that limited him to nine games in college.

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.