Udonis Haslem

Southeast Notes: Fultz, Haslem, Capela, Wizards

Within the last two years, the Magic‘s medical staff has been tasked with helping Chuma Okeke, Jonathan Isaac, and Markelle Fultz rehab from ACL tears. As the player who suffered his injury most recently, Fultz is reassured by observing how the club’s staff has handled his teammates’ recoveries, he tells Josh Robbins of The Athletic.

“Seeing what my (team’s) medical staff has done with people who had ACL injuries, I know they have some experience with that,” Fultz said. “That also gives me a little bit of confidence going into it, and I have a little bit of a blueprint to see how it goes and how it feels. I have people to ask questions that are my peers, somebody who I can relate to, which also gives me a boost of confidence going into it knowing that they’ve come back stronger and better.”

Although Fultz won’t get back on the court until the 2021/22 season, he said his knee “feels amazing,” and he told Robbins that he can’t wait to suit up again for a Magic team that has shifted into rebuilding mode.

“It just puts another chip on my shoulder again, to come back and play for this organization and the city, and just give it my all,” the former No. 1 pick said. “(I want to) just show them the love that I have for the city and how thankful I am for the opportunities that they’ve given me.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In what has become an annual tradition, Heat center Udonis Haslem said this week that he’s unsure whether or not he’ll play another year and that he plans to make that decision sometime after the season (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). The big man, who will turn 41 next month, has signed one-year contracts with Miami for five consecutive years.
  • As Bobby Marks of ESPN notes (via Twitter), Hawks center Clint Capela passed the 1,757-minute threshold on Wednesday, making him eligible to earn a $500K bonus based on defensive rebound percentage. Capela needs that number to be higher than 30% to receive his bonus — it’s currently a league-best 34.4%, per Basketball-Reference.
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington contends that a handful of GM Tommy Sheppard‘s roster moves – including drafting Rui Hachimura, trading for Russell Westbrook, and acquiring Daniel Gafford – have the Wizards on a positive trajectory.

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Brooks, Carter-Williams, Snell

Udonis Haslem – who is in his 18th NBA season, all with the Heat – has not played a single minute this season. And while the 41-year-old would welcome the chance to see some action, he has embraced his increasingly off-court role within the organization, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I’m always ready,” Haslem said. “And that’s my job, is to stay ready so I don’t got to get ready. And I’m always ready if Spo (head coach Erik Spoelstra) needs to put me out there and contribute to winning basketball games. But I understand that the bigger impact that I have is off the basketball court, before the clock starts.”

Last season, Haslem only played in four regular-season games, but he helped the Heat make their sixth NBA Finals appearance since 2005. The role on the team he plays is deeper than actually going out there to set screens and rebound the basketball, according to Spoelstra, who says the big man is “moving mountains with his leadership.” However, the Heat coach said the team would have no qualms about using Haslem on the court if needed.

“I always have the ultimate confidence in UD,” Spoelstra said. “And he and I have been through so many pressure-packed moments that I feel I can throw him in at any time, even in the fourth quarter if he hadn’t played before that.”

More from the Southeast Division:

  • After some uncertainty, presumably related to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks received clearance to coach Thursday’s game against the Grizzlies, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported (Twitter link). Brooks and the Wizards got off to a slow start but are creeping up in the standings (two games back of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference). 
  • Magic point guard Michael Carter-Williams spoke to Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com about feeling as if his NBA career was in jeopardy during the 2018/19 season, just a few years removed from winning Rookie of the Year. “I didn’t know where my future was gonna go,” said Carter-Williams, who has rejuvenated his career in Orlando. “I kept thinking, ‘Am I gonna go the G League route? Am I gonna go overseas? Do I even want to play at all anymore?’ There was a lot of things that went through my head at the time.”
  • Veteran wing Tony Snell looked like a salary throw-in when the Hawks acquired him from Detroit in the offseason, but he has played a meaningful role for the team, as Chris Kirschner of The Athletic details. The 29-year-old, a free agent at season’s end, is knocking down a scorching 56.9% of his three-point attempts, including a last-second, game-winning buzzer beater on Thursday. Atlanta has now won its first three games since Nate McMillan took over as head coach for Lloyd Pierce.

Eight Heat Players Unavailable Due To COVID-19 Protocols

3:58pm: In addition to Bradley, the Heat will be without the following players for Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Reynolds (Twitter link): Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem, and KZ Okpala.

That would leave the team with nine available players, assuming everyone else is healthy. Meyers Leonard (shoulder) is currently listed as questionable, while Kelly Olynyk (groin) and Gabe Vincent (knee) are probable, Reynolds notes (via Twitter).


2:14pm: The Heat are preparing to be without “at least five” players for the next several days due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Miami didn’t have the required minimum of eight players available on Sunday due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. As a result, the team’s scheduled game in Boston was postponed. Subsequently, the Heat spent Sunday and Monday awaiting the results of the NBA’s contact tracing investigation to find out which players may be required to self-isolate for the next week, says Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Heat are arranging for the players who need to self-isolate due to contact tracing to fly back to Miami on a private plane. The player who tested positive for COVID-19 will be sequestered in a hotel, while the rest of the team flies to Philadelphia in anticipation of playing vs. the Sixers.

Based on Winderman’s report, it sounds like the Heat expect to have enough players to resume their schedule on Tuesday vs. Philadelphia, though we don’t know yet who will and won’t be available. Avery Bradley‘s absence due to the league’s health and safety protocols was the only one reported on Sunday — all signs point to Bradley being the player who tested positive for the coronavirus, Winderman notes, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Heat Re-Sign Udonis Haslem

NOVEMBER 28: The new contract is official, the Heat announced on Twitter.

“It’s great to have UD back,” team president Pat Riley said. “His role is so critical for our team. Besides being able to still play, UD keeps everyone together in the locker room and on the road, teaching and mentoring.” (Twitter link from Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald)


NOVEMBER 20: The Heat have agreed to a new deal with veteran big man Udonis Haslem, Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press tweets. Haslem will officially return for an 18th consecutive season with the team.

Haslem, 40, committed to re-signing with the Heat earlier this month, bypassing potential retirement. He’s won three championships during his time with Miami (2005-06, 2011-12 and 2012-13), transitioning into a veteran role with the club this the past decade.

Several Heat players have raved about Haslem’s impact in the locker room as the team’s captain, particularly during the club’s impressive postseason run in Orlando. Miami was expected to explore its options and keep Haslem around in some capacity — even if he did choose to retire. On the court, he’s only appeared in 44 regular-season games since the 2016-17 campaign.

In addition to Haslem, the Heat also managed to strike deals with free agents Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard early in free agency. The team still has Jae Crowder, Derrick Jones Jr. and Solomon Hill on the open market, with Crowder starting in the playoffs and the latter two seeing inconsistent time.

Udonis Haslem Plans To Re-Sign With Heat

Heat big man Udonis Haslem announced today that he intends to return to the franchise for at least one more season, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Haslem, 40, has been a member of the Heat since 2003, having made his debut with the team over 17 years ago. During that time, he has appeared in 858 regular season games for Miami, plus another 147 postseason contests. He has won three titles with the organization, averaging 7.6 PPG and 6.7 RPG for his career.

In recent years, Haslem’s on-court role has declined significantly. In 2019/20, he appeared in just four regular season games, logging a total of 44 minutes. It was the fourth straight year in which he has played no more than 130 minutes.

However, the Heat value Haslem’s veteran leadership and presence on the bench, and appear willing to continue to signing him to one-year, minimum-salary contracts as long as he wants to continue his career.

According to Winderman (Twitter link), Haslem said today that he still thinks he can contribute, but won’t push for minutes. The veteran declined to say whether or not 2020/21 will be his final season, tweets Winderman.

Now that Vince Carter has retired, Haslem may begin the ’20/21 campaign as the NBA’s oldest player, unless Jamal Crawford or another veteran free agent in his 40s signs a new contract.

Heat Notes: Riley, Untouchables, Herro, Nnaji

In speaking to reporters last Friday about the Heat‘s NBA Finals loss to the Lakers, team president Pat Riley said “there’s always going to be an asterisk, that caveat” from the Heat’s perspective due to the fact that neither Bam Adebayo nor Goran Dragic was fully healthy for the series. However, Riley made it clear in his follow-up comments on Sunday that he wasn’t saying that an “asterisk” should be placed next to Lakers’ championship itself.

The asterisk is next to the Heat’s name, not the Lakers,” Riley said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). “Their title is legitimate. Our loss has an asterisk (next) to it. The Lakers were the better team. Period.”

While Riley’s initial wording left some room for interpretation, reading it as a dig aimed at the Lakers would’ve meant ignoring the surrounding context, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, who noted that when Riley wants to make a point, he’s rarely subtle about it.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In a separate article for The Sun Sentinel, Winderman considered which Heat players could be had in hypothetical trades and which would be off the table, identifying the team’s “untouchables” as Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and – for entirely different reasons – Udonis Haslem.
  • After a surprise run to the NBA Finals, the Heat will have to decide how aggressive they want to be with their current roster, writes Zach Harper of The Athletic. Within the story, Harper says league sources believe that if the Heat were to explore a trade for Victor Oladipo, they wouldn’t consider including Tyler Herro in any offer.
  • Former Arizona forward Zeke Nnaji worked out for the Heat on Sunday, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). The reigning Pac-12 Rookie of the Year, Nnaji is the No. 35 prospect on ESPN’s big board but could be an option for Miami at No. 20 in next month’s draft.

Heat Notes: Dragic, Adebayo, Iguodala, Haslem

The size of Goran Dragic‘s plantar fascia tear will determine whether he can return during the NBA Finals, a specialist tells Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Dragic, who suffered the injury in the series opener, and Bam Adebayo are both listed as doubtful for tonight’s Game 3.

“If it’s a relatively large tear, I would say he would be out for the series,” said Dr. Kenneth Jung, a foot and ankle consultant. “If it’s a larger tear, too, there’s a risk that it can go on to a complete rupture with playing on it. At the same time, even if it’s a small tear, if he attempts to play on it then he’s at risk of sustaining a full rupture. With a larger tear, I would expect that his symptoms are worse, too. So he probably wouldn’t feel that he would be able to get back as quickly.”

Jung added that rest is the best way to treat a plantar fascia injury and estimated that a complete rupture would sideline Dragic “for a couple of months or so.” A cortisone shot could reduce the pain, but Dragic would risk further injury by playing. Chiang notes that Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon suffered the same injury last season and had to miss 21 games, including eight in the postseason.

“You can try to play through it,” Jung said. “But he’s a guard, so everything is speed and quickness. It’s not like he’s a big and lumbering guy that just has to post up in the paint. He’s going to be pushing off, cutting, jumping, jump stops and stuff like that. That’s definitely going to put high stress on that area.”

There’s more on the Heat this morning:

  • Although a decision won’t be made until later today, Adebayo told reporters Friday that he was optimistic he would be ready for Game 3. “Yes, I believe I’ll be in the lineup,” said Adebayo, who is sidelined with a shoulder and neck strain. “I’m feeling better. I believe I’ll play.”
  • Now in his sixth straight NBA Finals, Andre Iguodala tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPN that he’s enjoying his time with the Heat, but misses his days with the Warriors. “I still talk to those guys every day,” Iguodala said of his former teammates. “Like, you’re not allowed to say anything bad about Steph (Curry) around me, or in general. … “I play for the Heat. So I’ll be caught in like these little internal battles. But it is part of the journey. So I’m going to just maximize these last however many days of my career I’ve got left, just try and enjoy it.”
  • Sopan Deb of The New York Times examines how Udonis Haslem has adapted during his long career in Miami.

Eastern Notes: Monk, Heat, Kanter, Dinwiddie

Hornets guard Malik Monk is seeking to regain the trust of his teammates after being suspended for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy in February, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer writes.

Monk, who missed eight games due to the suspension and lost roughly $200K in salary, claims he’s in a better physical and emotional state now.

“I did it. I took my consequences for it,” Monk said of his suspension. “I think I’m making up for it right now. … I’m in a great place with my mind and my body. The responsibility now is even bigger for me to stay like this, instead of swerving off a little bit.”

Monk, the No. 11 pick of the 2017 draft, averaged 10.3 points and 2.1 assists in 21.3 minutes per game this season. He shot a career-high from the field (43.4%), though it was coupled with a career-low shooting mark from three-point territory (28.4%). Monk is entering the final year of his rookie contract, making him eligible for free agency in 2021.

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Heat are utilizing veteran experience from Udonis Haslem and Andre Iguodala as they seek to reach their first NBA Finals since 2014, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. Haslem and Iguodala are the only Heat players to ever play in the Finals — both players are three-time NBA champions (Haslem with Miami in 2006, 2012, and 2013; Iguodala with Golden State in 2015, 2017 and 2018).
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Boston explores how Enes Kanter saved the Celtics’ season with his energetic play in the first half of Game 5. Kanter recorded eight points, four rebounds, and two assists in just over nine minutes, providing a spark to keep Boston within reach entering halftime. “[Kanter] kind of kept us at bay,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “We were struggling, they hit some really tough shots. [Duncan] Robinson was going nuts, and Kanter’s points in the paint, I thought, really helped. And kind of helped steady us and give us a chance at halftime, only being down 7.”
  • Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines whether the Nets’ offseason plans hinge on the fate of Spencer Dinwiddie, who could be traded in a package for a third star or kept as the lead ball-handler off the bench next season. Dinwiddie stepped up his play this season and has stated his willingness to surrender offensive opportunities for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, averaging a career-high 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game on the season.

Heat Notes: Butler, UD, Wade, Riley

Heat All-Star wing Jimmy Butler has emerged as the leader of a team two games away from the NBA Finals this season. His departures from his prior three teams painted a different picture of his personality.

In a revealing piece, ESPN’s Nick Friedell takes a look at Butler through the eyes of teammates, coaches, front office executives, and team owners past and present, navigating historic quotes that cover Jimmy’s debut in the league all the way through his current standing as one of its premiere players.

There’s more out of South Beach today:

  • Butler’s uniqueness as a team-first All-Star has made scoring a lesser priority for him. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel examines whether Butler can be a dominant scorer for the Heat, especially in the first halves of games, in the rest of the postseason.
  • Veteran Heat power forward Udonis Haslem credits the father of teammate Jae Crowder, Corey, with his 17-season NBA career. After going undrafted in 2002, Haslem headed to France, where he linked up with the elder Crowder as both played for French club Chalon-sur-Saône. After Haslem began dominating team practices, he found encouragement from Crowder to try again at the next level. “That’s when I told him, ‘You’ve got to get to the NBA,’” Corey Crowder said.
  • As Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald recaps, former Heat All-Star Dwyane Wade spoke on 790 The Ticket’s Tobin & Leroy Show about the Heat’s youth movement this season and the future of longtime Heat mastermind Pat Riley, who is 75. “I think [Riley’s] going to be around [well after this season],” Wade said. “His office is going to still be his office. Even if he’s not in that position, he’s still going to come into practice everyday. This is his life. This is what he loves. This is him. I don’t see him going anywhere.”

Heat Notes: Roster, Haslem, ECF

Zach Lowe of ESPN tracks the Heat‘s impressive front office maneuvering that took them from the lottery in 2015 back to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2020, despite having traded away a number of their draft picks during that time. Lowe applauds the team’s savvy drafting of All-Star Bam Adebayo and potential future All-Star shooting specialist Tyler Herro in the 2017 and 2019 drafts, respectively.

“The doubt was whether [Adebayo] could really do much on offense,” said Heat senior adviser of basketball operations Chet Kammerer. “I just felt like, with his love for the game and his work ethic, he’s going to be OK in that area.”

The Heat also hit on three undrafted free agent role players in point guard Kendrick Nunn this season, shooting guard Duncan Robinson last year, and forward Derrick Jones Jr. in 2017 after a brief stint with the Suns. Miami was apparently one of two contenders for Dorian Finney-Smith after the 2016 draft, but lost out to the Mavericks.

Of course, All-Star Jimmy Butler was the key addition this offseason. During the 2016/17 “Three Alphas” Bulls season – when Dwyane Wade teamed up with Butler and Rajon Rondo in Chicago – Wade and Butler discussed just how special the much-ballyhooed “Heat culture” really was. That conversation apparently set the stage for Butler prioritizing the Heat above all other suitors in free agency during the summer of 2019, despite Miami lacking any room to sign a maximum-salaried free agent. Miami made a four-team sign-and-trade for the team’s now-top star.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • The Heat’s playoff-ready roster, comprised by acquiring key under-regarded prospects and never fully bottoming out, is also examined by HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina in another quality piece.
  • 17-season Heat lifer Udonis Haslem, a crucial role player for each of Miami’s three titles, remains noncommittal on whether or not 2019/20 will prove to be his final season as a player, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “There is a value and a need for me here,” Haslem said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that everybody thinks it should be. If I have to put on a suit and stand on the sideline, just because everybody else thinks I should. I found value in this locker room, and I’ve been able to move the needle and help us win games, and that’s what it’s all about.”
  • Ahead of the first game of the Heat’s Eastern Conference Finals series against the Celtics, we asked you who you expected to advance to the NBA Finals from Eastern Conference. As of this writing, the third-seeded Celtics have received 54% of over 1,300 votes.