Udonis Haslem

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.

Heat Notes: Crowder, Haslem, Butler, Coaching Staff

The Heat are one win away from the conference finals, and a bold move at the trade deadline helped them reach this position, writes Shandel Richardson of Sports Illustrated. Miami shook up its roster in February by acquiring Jae Crowder from the Grizzlies in a three-team deal and sending away Justise Winslow, who was once thought to be part of the team’s foundation. Crowder has been extremely valuable in the playoffs, averaging 11.6 PPG, shooting 62% on 3-pointers and providing versatility on defense.

“He’s a competitor so he’s going to do whatever is necessary,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He does it on both ends. It’s not an easy series for him. He has to sacrifice his body and play against the MVP, sometimes play against a 7-footer, sometimes put him on guards. He’s basically guarding one through five in this series.”

Crowder, 30, is boosting his value for the offseason, when he will be among the most intriguing free agents on the market. The Heat would love to bring him back, but the organization is prioritizing cap room to add another star in the summer of 2021. Crowder has more he wants to accomplish before considering his next contract.

“I just feel like I’m going to keep staying at it,” he said. “I’m going to stay in the gym, stay watching film, stay focused, stay being an all around professional. That just shows me my hard work is paying off. I’m really pleased with the work that I’m putting in and it’s not going to stop.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Veteran leader Udonis Haslem believes Miami has the perfect mix of talent and toughness to win a title in this unique environment, according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Haslem, 39, only played four games this season, but he’s a sideline leader as a quasi-assistant coach. “I feel like we can win it and I feel like we have just as good an opportunity (as anyone),” he said. “When you look at everything that’s going on right now, this team is built for the bubble, man. You talk about tough, hard-nosed, work ethic, mentally tough — there’s no mentally tougher team in this bubble, tougher leader in this bubble. The Miami Heat team was built for anything.”
  • Teammates are expressing confidence in Jimmy Butler to carry them through the playoffs, with Meyers Leonard telling Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, “We have the best player in this series.” (Twitter link)
  • Assistant Octavio De La Grana has joined the team in Orlando, giving Spoelstra a full coaching staff, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Teams were permitted to add one person to their bubble limit on Saturday.

Restart Notes: Rivers, Beverley, Roberts, Protest, Paul

Clippers coach Doc Rivers felt the season would resume when the players sat out Wednesday’s games in protest but acknowledged it could have gone either way, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “I knew how high the emotions were and I just, I had a lot of faith that it would all calm down,” Rivers said. He added that the players’ vote whether to keep playing was close. “I don’t think it was a layup either way,” he said.

We have more regarding the decision to resume the season:

  • Clippers guard Patrick Beverley admits he exchanged words with Players Association executive director Michele Roberts during the contentious players meeting on Wednesday, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk notes. “Oh, just we had a very interesting conversation,” Beverley said Friday. “The PA is like a family… You don’t always agree with your family members, and that’s OK. You communicate about it and you try to make it better.” Beverley interrupted Roberts more than once, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports, and shot back “No, I pay your salary,” when Roberts objected. Other players, including Chris Paul and Udonis Haslem, intervened and admonished Beverley.
  • Players showed the power in their voices and action by sitting out games but must wield their influence wisely, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated opines. Players are hurting emotionally and want answers, but there aren’t any easy ones. Changes can only come in small increments, and there is only so much NBA owners can do to alter that, Mannix adds.
  • Paul has done a remarkable job leading the Players Association, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said to The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto and other media members. “I don’t think there’s ever been a president of the Players Association that’s had to endure and handle what he’s had to handle this season,” Donovan said.

Udonis Haslem Warns Of “Bad Basketball” Under Quarantine

Heat forward Udonis Haslem doesn’t believe that forcing players to live under quarantine conditions in a “bubble” city will result in a good product, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel.

Creating an isolated environment, likely in Las Vegas or Orlando, has been a prominent plan as the NBA searches for ways to safely resume its season. However, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts recently questioned what it would take to enforce those conditions, saying it sounds like “incarceration.” Haslem echoes those comments, stating that players need “outlets” beyond just the game or it will result in “bad basketball.”

“There’s a lot that goes on to prepare for a season mentally,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into going out there and performing at a high level every night, and especially when you put yourself in a playoff atmosphere. I was one of those guys who’s always needed different outlets, for my mental health. So just moving forward, if that is something that we’re going to do, you just hope that both the league and the Players’ Association are smart about making sure we have different outlets, as far not just letting us out to play games and then locking us back up in the hotel, in quarantine.”

Commissioner Adam Silver has responded to those concerned about a bubble, suggesting players could be placed in more of a “campus” setting. Teams would stay at a central location where games would take place, but the players would be able to leave the site and would get a COVID-19 test when they return.

Even under those conditions, players face the possibility of being isolated from their families for two months or more, depending on how much of the regular season gets played before the playoffs begin. That would be unprecedented even for a veteran like Haslem, who is in his 17th NBA season and 18th in professional basketball.

“I’ve never been away from my family for that long,” he said. “Obviously, back in the day, when we would take the West Coast trips with the Big Three, when LeBron (James) first got here, it felt like a month. But, no, never, not even with my travels to Europe, away from the family, have I been away that long. So it will be tough. It will be definitely tough for a lot of us.”