Udonis Haslem

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Butler, Strus, Haslem, Oladipo

More than three years before Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler led the Heat to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this season, they were almost traded for one another, Adebayo said during a recent appearance on J.J. Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

According to Adebayo, his name came up in trade talks in 2018 when the Heat were exploring the possibility of acquiring Butler from the Timberwolves.

“You heard the Minnesota situation,” Adebayo told Redick, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “And it’s crazy, because I almost got traded for Jimmy, to Minnesota. … (team president) Pat (Riley) wouldn’t trade me. Like he was, ‘Nah, I see something good in this kid.’ Yadda, yadda, yadda. And, at that point, I’m sweating bullets. Like, I’m not trying to be traded. I like it in Miami. It’s warm. I kind of got my feet wet. I’m familiar with the place.”

According to Winderman, the Heat’s offer to Minnesota in 2018 ended up revolving around Josh Richardson, Dion Waiters, and draft picks. The Wolves instead sent Butler to the Sixers, who flipped the veteran swingman to Miami less than a year later in a sign-and-trade deal involving Richardson.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In an interview with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Heat wing Max Strus discussed his recovery from a 2019 ACL tear, his experience in Miami, and his long-term career goals. Strus – who is under contract with the Heat for one more season before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2023 – said he’s taking things year by year but would “love to be here” long-term. “I think it’s been great for my career, and I think I’m a good fit for the Heat and what we do here,” he said. “I try not to get too caught up in that because you never know what’s going to happen.”
  • While the March 23 sideline spat involving Jimmy Butler, Udonis Haslem, and head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t look good, the Heat were able to quickly move past that incident and have no regrets, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “I could have been a little more cool-headed,” Haslem said on Cari Champion’s podcast. “Jimmy could have been a little more cool-headed. But I don’t think neither one of us regret that situation. Because you look at the type of basketball we’re playing now. A couple of days later, we were back drinking wine together.”
  • After returning to the court last month following a long recovery from quad surgery, Victor Oladipo appeared in just eight of the Heat’s last 17 games and only played 20 or more minutes three times. However, he showed just how valuable he can be by averaging 30.5 points on 60.6% shooting in his final two games. As Winderman writes in another Sun Sentinel article, the Heat will face a tough decision on how and when to insert Oladipo into a crowded rotation for the postseason. “I don’t have no control with that,” the two-time All-Star said. “If my number is called, I’ll be ready.”

And-Ones: Jerebko, Canaan, China, Teammate Award, Future Rankings

While some former NBA players have left Russian teams following the invasion into Ukraine, Jonas Jerebko is resuming his career there. The ex-NBA big man signed with CSKA Moscow, the team tweets. That didn’t sit well with the Swedish National Team, who suspended him, according to Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops.net“Unfortunately, we are forced to state that there are no conditions for Jonas Jerebko to play for the Sweden basketball national team,” a Swedish Basketball Federation press release stated in part. Jerebko played for four NBA teams.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Another Russian team, Unics Kazan, has mutually parted ways with guard Isaiah Canaan, according to a EuroHoops.net story. Canaan is joining Turkey’s Galatasaray, EuroHoops tweets. Canaan appeared in 235 NBA games, most recently during the 2018/19 campaign.
  • Chinese TV has resumed broadcasts of NBA games, Sopan Deb of the New York Times reports. China had boycotted NBA broadcasts since 2019, when former Houston executive Daryl Morey tweeted support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. China Central Television, its state-run TV network, broadcasted Tuesday night’s matchup between the Clippers and Jazz, which kicked off a full return of the league to China’s airwaves.
  • The 12 finalists for the league’s Teammate of the Year award have been announced, the NBA announced (via Twitter). DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green , Udonis Haslem, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Love, Boban Marjanovic, Chris Paul, Fred VanVleet and Grant Williams are the contenders. The annual honor recognizes the player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on- and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team.
  • The Grizzlies top the list on ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, according to Kevin Pelton, Bobby Marks, Andre’ Snellings, and Tim Bontemps (Insider link). They’re followed by the Heat and Suns. The Kings sit at the bottom of the pile.

Heat Notes: Mulder, Butler, Haslem, Spoelstra

The Heat brought Mychal Mulder back because of the positive impression he made during his first stint with the organization, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Mulder signed a two-way contract on Thursday, taking the place of Kyle Guy. Because the deal covers two years, Mulder will be able to play for Miami during Summer League and take part in the team’s offseason program.

Mulder signed his first NBA contract with the Heat in 2019 after going undrafted out of Kentucky. He spent training camp with the team on an Exhibit 10 deal and played in two preseason games before being waived prior to the start of the season. He went on to play 67 games for the Warriors over two years and appeared 15 games with the Magic earlier this season.

“We were excited to have him back in our program. … We’re excited about having an opportunity to work with him this offseason and really continue to develop him,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “In a perfect world, we would’ve been able to do that for the last two seasons, but we also like that he was able to go develop in a couple other places.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • The recent return of Markieff Morris and Victor Oladipo has shaken up the rotation, but that’s normal in the NBA, P.J. Tucker tells Chiang in the same story. Several players who were seeing significant minutes earlier in the season are now stuck on the bench. “Every day is different, whether somebody is in or out,” Tucker said. “Look at Gabe [Vincent]. He’s going from starting and getting 20 [points] in a couple games in a row to Kyle [Lowry] coming back and literally not stepping in the game. Then the next game starting again. You don’t know. But you have to be ready. It’s a part of your job. It’s a part of being a professional basketball player.”
  • The Heat are downplaying a sideline scuffle (video link) between Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem that took place during Wednesday’s game, tweets Mark Haynes of ClutchPoints. Although the two players nearly came to blows during a time out, Bam Adebayo said it’s not out of character for the team. “This is us in practice,” he said. “… In practice, we get like that to that point where like it looks like we want to fight each other when we get that mad, but it’s just the competitive nature that we have on this team.”
  • Spoelstra is absent from tonight’s game because of a medical procedure involving his son, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Assistant coach Chris Quinn is running the team.

Heat Notes: Beal, Butler, Martin, Oladipo, Haslem

The belief around the NBA is that signing a new contract with the Wizards is the most likely offseason outcome for veteran guard Bradley Beal, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. However, multiple sources tell Charania that the Heat are considered a “legitimate” suitor for Beal if he decides to seek a change of scenery in free agency.

Even if Beal were interested in going to Miami, it would be a challenge for the capped-out Heat to acquire him. As Charania writes, a sign-and-trade would almost certainly be necessary, and it’s a safe bet the Wizards would drive a hard bargain if they were sending their franchise player to a division rival. Reacting to the report, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald says he’d be surprised if the Heat were willing to move Tyler Herro in a sign-and-trade for Beal.

The entire scenario remains hypothetical for now. Although the Heat are one of several teams that have monitored Beal for years in case he asks to be dealt – Charania reports the Sixers also did plenty of work this season on a possible Beal trade before acquiring James Harden – the longtime Wizard has always remained committed to D.C. It sounds like there’s a good chance that trend will continue this summer.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Caleb Martin (hyperextended left knee) said on Monday that he’ll play vs. Philadelphia tonight, and head coach Erik Spoelstra said that Jimmy Butler (right ankle sprain) will warm up with the intention of playing (Twitter links via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald). Sixers center Joel Embiid, meanwhile, will sit on the second night of a back-to-back set due to back soreness, tweets ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.
  • Victor Oladipo didn’t travel to Philadelphia due to back spasms, but the Heat don’t seem concerned about the veteran guard, tweets Chiang. “He’s just rehabbing and trying to get ready for Wednesday,” Spoelstra said of Oladipo.
  • Heat big man Udonis Haslem remains interested in getting involved in the franchise’s ownership group after he retires, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays. “This is always the place I wanted to win. This is always the place I wanted to retire. This is always the place I felt I could make the biggest impact,” Haslem said, noting that he took discounts earlier in his career to stay with the Heat. “… You don’t give up $40, $50, $60 million dollars temporarily because it [isn’t] temporarily coming back. So everything I’ve done is to be part of this organization for the rest of my life.”

Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Jordan, Haslem, Morris

Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis showed he can still be dominant in the team’s victory over the Lakers on Saturday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes. Porzingis finished with 27 points and five assists, helping his team win 127-119.

“Just down the stretch, we wanted to play through him,” teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “No one could stop K.P. at the elbow. He was just turning around and shooting over everybody. It’s going to be great just to see if we can get him a full season. We already know what he can do.”

Porzingis was acquired by the Wizards in February. He has dealt with a variety of injuries over his career (and hasn’t played over 60 games since the 2016/17 season), but he can still be productive when healthy. In seven games with Washington, he’s averaging 20.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Heat Notes: Chalmers, Morris, Haslem, Silva

Heat guard Mario Chalmers is enjoying every second of his 10-day hardship reunion with Miami, as Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated relays. Chalmers made four consecutive NBA Finals appearances with the Heat from 2011-2014, winning two championships in the process.

He is a major part of the banners that are up there,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We were together from the beginning of his career. A lot of development was spent with Rio in the summer, working with our staff, preparing himself to be one of the mainstays of those championship years. I really enjoyed seeing his growth and progress as a professional and as a human being.”

Unfortunately, Chalmers was a DNP-CD for his three active games, then was moved to the inactive list after Duncan Robinson and Max Strus returned from the health and safety protocols. His contract expires January 9. Chalmers says he doesn’t have any expectations going forward, but he’s grateful for the opportunity.

I really don’t know what to expect,” Chalmers said, per Spears. “I hope I get another 10-day contract. I hope I get to sign for the rest of the year. The biggest thing is to keep playing. Expectations? I really don’t have none. Let’s see what happens. …

I just appreciate them giving me the opportunity to come back and getting the love from the fans. Even though I haven’t gotten a home game, I still have got a lot of love from Heat fans saying, ‘Welcome back.'”

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Spoelstra told reporters, including Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald (Twitter link), that forward Markieff Morris, who’s missed 30 straight games with a neck injury, was able to participate in part of the team’s practice Friday.
  • Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, who’s played his entire 19-year NBA career with the Heat, has cleared the health and safety protocols, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets.
  • Big man Chris Silva was distraught when the Heat traded him last March, Chiang writes for the Herald, but Silva says his 10-day hardship contract is a welcome return to Miami. “When I signed a 10-day with the Heat, I felt like I signed a multiyear contract,” Silva said with a laugh ahead of the Heat’s matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on Wednesday night. “The Heat fans were sending me posts and messages welcoming me back. When I stepped in the locker room, I saw a couple faces that I recognized. I saw the coaching staff, I knew everybody.” Through four games with the Heat this season, Silva is averaging 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds in 12 minutes per contest.

COVID-19 Roundup: Nets, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Knicks, Wizards, Thunder

The NBA’s new guidelines regarding its health and safety protocols have resulted in several players being released from protocols this morning. The league and its players union agreed Monday to shorten the minimum required quarantine period for a vaccinated COVID-positive players and coaches from 10 days to six.

Here is the latest news on who has entered and cleared protocols today:

  • Nets stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are out of protocols, as is LaMarcus Aldridge, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. While Durant and Aldridge may be ready for Thursday’s game, Irving is still working his way back into game condition and remains ineligible to play in home games because he hasn’t met New York City’s vaccine requirement.
  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince has cleared protocols and will rejoin the team, but won’t play tonight against the Knicks, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Minnesota also gets back Anthony Edwards and Naz Reid (Twitter link).
  • Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley has cleared protocols and is set to reunite with the club today, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com tweets that the Cavaliers hope to have Mobley play in tonight’s game against the Pelicans, but will put him through his pregame paces first to gauge his conditioning level.
  • Unfortunately, just as one of Cleveland’s best players recovers, another will be absent. Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, enjoying a nearly All-Star-level season with Cleveland, has entered the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, tweets Kelsey Russo of The Athletic.
  • Knicks rookie point guard guard Miles McBride has cleared protocols, the team has announced (via Twitter). New York adds that he has rejoined the team ahead of its game tonight against the Timberwolves.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Heat point guard Kyle Lowry is also in protocols. Miami assistant coach Chris Quinn will return to the sidelines, Chiang adds.
  • Wizards forwards Rui Hachimura and Montrezl Harrell have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, joining six other Washington players, the team has announced (Twitter link). Hachimura has missed the Wizards’ entire season thus far due to personal reasons. Among the others, unvaccinated All-Star guard Bradley Beal is still in protocols and Wallace reports that his status is “questionable” prior to the Wizards’ upcoming contest against the Heat tonight. Center Thomas Bryant, wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and guards Anthony Gill, Aaron Holiday and Raul Neto are still in protocols.
  • Thunder rookie guard Josh Giddey has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Head coach Mark Daigneault has also entered the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, and will be replaced by assistant coach Mike Wilks starting with this evening’s contest against the Kings, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). Wilks, a former journeyman NBA guard, suited up for four games with the Thunder during the 2009/10 season, Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman adds (Twitter link). Players Darius Bazley, Tre Mann, Aleksej Pokusevski, and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl remain in the protocols for Oklahoma City.
  • Keep track of all the players currently in COVID-19 protocols through out our daily tracker.

Arthur Hill contributed to this report.

Eastern Notes: Vucevic, Haslem, Cavaliers, Barton, Bulls

Bulls star center Nikola Vucevic is “totally fine” with accepting a reduced offensive role — so long as the team continues to win, Sam Smith of NBA.com writes. Vucevic is averaging just 13.8 points per game on 14.1 shots attempted this season, down from 24.5 points on 20.6 shots with the Magic last year.

“Obviously, my role is a little different than what I had offensively last year when I came here than with Orlando,” Vucevic said as part of a larger quote. “There’s more talent and more guys who can score. So it’s a little different offensively for me.

“So I just try to do different things, passing, defensively rebounding; there are many ways you can impact the game, screening and doing other things that I can to help the team. When you have so much talent around you, you have to adjust, a little bit change your game and play a different way. And that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”

The Bulls have opened the season at 6-2, good for the third-best record in the East and fifth-best in the league. The franchise is motivated to return to the playoffs this season after missing the tournament four straight years.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Heat veteran Udonis Haslem envisions having an ownership stake in the franchise one day, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. Haslem has won three championships with the team, playing 861 regular-season and 147 playoff games over the course of his 19-year career. “Even with so much going on in my life, this organization would be a top priority, a major priority for me,” Haslem said as part of a larger quote. “There’s no way I can be a part of this and not focus on moving the needle. I think everything that I’ve been about these last couple of years has been focused on moving the needle, has been from a position of ‘How can I impact winning without playing?’ Well, you see how I impact winning without being on the court.”
  • The Cavaliers are brimming with confidence to start the season, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. The team is coming off a hard-fought victory against the Raptors, winning 102-101 on the road. “There’s something special brewing in that locker room,” said head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who’s guided the team to a 6-4 record thus far. “Everybody wants to be a part of it.”
  • The Bulls promised to draft Nuggets guard Will Barton with the No. 29 pick in 2012, the veteran told Mike Singer of the Denver Post (podcast link). Chicago ultimately drafted Marquis Teague, while Barton was selected at No. 40 by Portland. “It created a monster,” Barton said.

Heat Notes: Morris, Garrett, Martin, Haslem

After being used mostly as a floor-spacing big man with the Lakers over the last couple seasons, Markieff Morris is happy he’s getting more opportunities to operate inside the three-point arc with the Heat this season, says Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

“I’m finally back to basically where I had success at in the league early in my career,” Morris said this week. “For me personally, the game has changed a lot from when I first came in to now. Over here, these guys are doing a great job of letting me just play my game, and they’re playing to my strengths.”

Morris, who said he played a bit of a “one-dimensional” role in Los Angeles, averaged 3.4 three-point attempts and 2.8 two-pointers per game last season. So far this season, he’s attempting 2.3 threes and 5.3 two-pointers per contest.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • With G League training camps underway, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said the plan is for Marcus Garrett to spend plenty of time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s NBAGL affiliate, this season, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. However, the team’s other two-way player, Caleb Martin, is less likely to be sent on assignments to Sioux Falls, since Spoelstra views him as a “plug-and-play guy” for the Heat.
  • Asked why he decided to re-sign with the Heat again this summer, Udonis Haslem told Tyler R. Tynes of GQ that he believes he can inspire young players fighting to earn their place in the NBA. “I coulda quit a long time ago. But there’s (always) been another guy that comes in that reminds me of me: that wants an opportunity, that needs an opportunity, that deserves an opportunity,” Haslem said. “Every year I can find another Udonis Haslem that walks in that locker room. And I’m re-inspired and re-energized. I still have game to give. I still have my passion. I see those guys walk in the locker room and I’m just reborn again. It goes to the Bam Adebayos and Tyler Johnsons and the habits we create in this organization.”
  • Within an extensive conversation with Tynes, Haslem discussed “Heat Culture,” the team’s Big Three era, and the evolution of his role in the locker room over the years. The veteran big man, who is in his 19th season, also suggested that he’d like to play one more season beyond 2021/22: “If I can get 20 years, it’ll be an amazing career for a kid that no one thought would play in the league. All my sacrifices, everything I’ve given, the only thing I’ve asked for is to try to get to 20. I wanna give that to myself, and I wanted to give it to my father (who recently passed away).”

Southeast Notes: Bamba, Anthony, Haslem, Love

The Magic are coming to something of a crossroads with Mohamed Bamba, writes Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

The former No. 6 overall pick has only started six games in three years, with five of them coming in the final 24 games of last season, after the Magic traded the team’s long-standing linchpin, Nikola Vucevic, to the Bulls. Of course, those starts only came when Wendell Carter Jr., who came back from Chicago in the deal, wasn’t playing.

With Bamba entering the final year of his rookie contract, Robbins talks to NBA scouts about the future for the big man.

Talent-wise, he has a ceiling that he could be really good if he’s locked-in,” one scout said. “He has a chance, but I don’t know if his motor will let him get there.”

In examining Bamba’s strengths, Robbins quotes the big man’s 91st-percentile for percentage of opposing teams’ shots blocked, as well as his burgeoning jumpshot, but scouts worry that his tools are far ahead of his defensive instincts and reactivity. One scout says that Orlando may ultimately be better served to let another team try to develop Bamba once his rookie deal expires. However, Robbins observes that a new coach and system could be huge for his development, and that the team still seems at least relatively committed to him.

We have more news from around the Southeast Division:

  • In a similar piece from earlier this month, Robbins talked to scouts about Cole Anthony, who, like Bamba, faces a similar uncertainty given the Magic‘s depth at the point guard spot. The scouts came away more impressed with Anthony’s ability to get into the paint and play with physicality than expected, especially on the offensive glass, but almost unanimously said his lack of vision as a playmaker and his limitations defensively will probably keep him from becoming a starting point guard for a good team.
  • Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel believes that it’s possible we see a mid-season send-off for lifelong Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, he writes in a recent mailbag. He also says Haslem may have been biding his time and waiting for the perfect moment to get his big farewell.
  • In a separate piece, Winderman calls Kevin Love‘s recently-reported disinterest in a buyout “pure posturing,” while saying the Heat would likely be interested, especially with a bit of a hole at the power forward position. However, he’s unsure if Miami currently holds the “contender” status in the eyes of players that could woo Love over a team like the Lakers or Warriors.