Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem Discusses Potential Reunion With Dwyane Wade

Veteran forward Udonis Haslem is the latest Heat player to express interest in bringing back Dwyane Wade if he agrees to a buyout in Chicago, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Interest in the possibility was reignited with a report Wednesday that Wade and the Bulls could part ways at some point this season.

Wade has a $23.8MM salary and doesn’t seem to fit on a team that started rebuilding by trading Jimmy Butler and not re-signing Rajon Rondo. A buyout is always a possibility, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune, but the Bulls haven’t changed their position that it would have to be “advantageous” to them, meaning Wade would have to give up a substantial amount of money.

He would have several options if that happens, with one obvious choice being a return to Miami, where he spent the first 13 seasons of his NBA career.

“I talk to D-Wade every day,” Haslem said today on radio station WQAM. “My advice to D-Wade and his advice has always been to me is, ‘Take it one day at a time. Just take it one day at a time, step by step.’ We kind of understand the direction that Chicago is going in. We kind of understand the direction that Dwyane wants to go in the last couple of years of his career. The business side of things sometimes doesn’t always allow both sides to co-exist.”

On Tuesday, Heat center Hassan Whiteside sent out a GIF on social media indicating he would like to see Wade return, and Dion Waiters endorsed the idea on Twitter in July.

The Heat are well over the salary cap after re-signing Waiters and James Johnson this summer and adding Kelly Olynyk in free agency. However, they have retained their mid-level exception, which gives them up to $4.3MM to offer Wade.

Winderman notes that a crowded backcourt could hinder the move, with Waiters and Goran Dragic cemented as starters and Tyler Johnson, Josh RichardsonRodney McGruder and Wayne Ellington in reserve. There’s also the possibility that Wade could find a reunion with LeBron James in Cleveland more desirable than a return to Miami.

Players Who Can Veto Trades In 2017/18

No-trade clauses are rare in the NBA, but one such provision has been the subject of much discussion so far in 2017, with Carmelo Anthony making use of his NTC to block the Knicks from sending him to an undesirable destination. At this point, Anthony is focused on joining the Rockets, and is reportedly unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to go to another team.

Anthony is one of just three NBA players whose contract includes an explicit no-trade clause, but there are still several players each year who have the ability to veto trades. A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year contract – or a two-year deal with an option year – is given no-trade protection, and so is a player who signs an offer sheet and has that offer matched by his previous team. Players who accept qualifying offers after their rookie deals expire can also block deals, though no restricted free agents have signed their QOs so far this year.

Taking into account that list of criteria, here are the players who must give their consent if their teams want to trade them during the 2017/18 league year:

No-trade clauses

  • Carmelo Anthony (Knicks)
  • LeBron James (Cavaliers)
  • Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)
    • Note: Nowitzki is believed to have received an explicit no-trade clause on his new deal with the Mavs, but would get an implicit NTC either way.

Players whose offer sheets were matched

  • Otto Porter (Wizards)
    • Note: Even with his consent, Porter cannot be traded to the Nets during the 2017/18 league year.

Players accepting qualifying offers

  • None

Players re-signing for one year (or two years including an option)

In addition to the players listed above who can veto trades through the 2017/18 league year, there’s another small handful of players who can’t be dealt under any circumstance until at least next July. The following players signed a Designated Veteran Extension this season, which precludes them from being traded for a full calendar year:

Information from Basketball Insiders and ESPN was used in the creation of this post.

Heat Re-Sign Udonis Haslem

Veteran big man Udonis Haslem will return to Miami for at least one more season, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that Haslem has signed a one-year, minimum salary contract with the club. Heat owner Micky Arison had hinted at the deal earlier today by tweeting “UD” alongside a celebratory emoji.udonis haslem vertical

Haslem made his NBA debut in 2003 and has been a member of the Heat ever since, appearing in nearly 1,000 total games for the club, between the regular season and the playoffs. Although he has averaged 25.7 minutes per game for his career in the regular season, the 37-year-old has seen his role in Miami decline significantly over the last couple seasons. Since the start of the 2015/16 campaign, Haslem has appeared in 53 regular season contests, averaging 7.4 MPG.

Despite his dwindling role on the court, Haslem remains a key veteran presence on Miami’s bench. A report from a couple weeks ago suggested that the Cavaliers had the big man on their radar and would likely have a conversation with him, but a return to the Heat was always the expected outcome.

Among active NBA players, only Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Tony Parker (Spurs), Manu Ginobili (Spurs), and Nick Collison (SuperSonics/Thunder) have been with a single franchise for longer than Haslem, who will return for his 15th season with the Heat.

Haslem’s minimum salary deal won’t have an impact on the Heat’s spending flexibility. The team is out of cap room but still has its $4.328MM room exception available to use on a free agent at some point during the 2017/18 league year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pat Riley Talks Offseason, Haslem, Babbitt, More

After an eventful week of free agency, Heat president Pat Riley spoke to local reporters and addressed a handful of subject related to his team and the offseason so far. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald passed along the highlights of that session, so let’s dive in and round up some of Riley’s most notable observations and comments…

  • Riley called the Heat’s pursuit of Gordon Hayward a “no-brainer” even though it didn’t ultimately work out. “The fact Gordon had an interest in us, we felt a need to pursue that but not at the risk of [not] negotiating hard with our own free agents,” Riley said.
  • The Heat went hard after Kelly Olynyk because the team viewed a stretch four or five as one type of player the roster was lacking. Riley also suggested that Olynyk “sets probably the best screens in the NBA” and is an ideal fit alongside Hassan Whiteside or Bam Adebayo.
  • The Heat have used “every last dollar” of the salary cap, but still have the $4.3MM room exception. Still, Riley doesn’t expect the team to use that exception right away. “We have 10 guys that we really like, 11 guys or 12 who will be fighting for rotation minutes,” Riley said. “I’m going to add another room mid level guy who is going to be fighting for 10 minutes? … If something pops up that’s really good, we’ll think about using it.”
  • Asked if the Heat need to add a backup point guard, Riley replied, “Absolutely not.” The Heat president pointed to Tyler Johnson, Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson as possible ball-handlers.
  • Miami wants to re-sign Udonis Haslem and is “still talking” to Luke Babbitt. However, Willie Reed is unlikely to return, per Riley.
  • When it came to the Josh McRoberts trade, A.J. Hammons wasn’t just a throw-in for the Heat — Riley likes what he brings to the table. “He’s the kind of player that fits that mold of a stretch five or four,” Riley said. “We remember him from Purdue. That happened very quickly. We made that deal pretty quickly. We already had scouting reports on him.”

Eastern Rumors: Ellington, Haslem, Smart, Hawks

The belief among Heat players is that Wayne Ellington will be back with the team next season, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Ellington is a candidate to be released within the next 48 hours or so, since his $6.27MM salary for 2017/18 – currently non-guaranteed – will become fully guaranteed if he remains under contract.

Even if the Heat ultimately decide that they need to waive Ellington to create some extra cap room for another move, that doesn’t necessarily rule out his return — the team could eventually re-sign him to a deal worth the $4.3MM room exception, if he’s open to accepting a pay cut.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Reynolds provides another Heat-related tidbit, tweeting that Udonis Haslem is on the Cavaliers‘ radar. Haslem, who has spent his entire career in Miami, wants to stay with the Heat, and that looks like the most probable outcome. But a conversation between Haslem and the Cavs is likely, per Reynolds.
  • On Wednesday, an ESPN report indicated that the Celtics had called the Knicks about Marcus Smart, but New York’s level of interest in Smart was unclear. Following up on that story, Marc Berman of The New York Post reports that the Knicks do indeed have interest in Smart and are considering trade options as a way of filling part or all of their remaining cap space.
  • Italian forward Nicolo Melli received a contract offer from the Hawks, according to international basketball journalist David Pick (Twitter link). However, Pick reports that Melli has turned down that offer and will sign a multiyear pact with Fenerbahce in Turkey. Per Sportando (Twitter link), Melli’s new deal isn’t done yet, but will be within a few days.
  • The Raptors are the latest team to line up a deal to add a sponsored patch to their jersey, according to TSN’s Rick Westhead, who reports that Toronto has signed a three-year agreement with insurance company Sun Life Financial. The deal will pay Raptors ownership more than $5MM annually, sources tell Westhead. The list of NBA clubs that have agreed to jersey sponsorship deals can be found here.

Eastern FA Rumors: Lowry, Bogdanovic, Celtics

There’s a “growing sense” among executives around the NBA that Kyle Lowry will ultimately sign a new deal with the Raptors, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link). Zillgitt says not to be surprised if Lowry gets a three-year deal in the range of $27MM annually from Toronto, which would put him right in the neighborhood of his good friend and teammate DeMar DeRozan — DeRozan’s contract calls for an annual salary of $27,739,975 over the next three years, with a player option worth the same amount in 2020/21.

Here are more free agent updates from around the Eastern Conference:

  • The Hawks are among Bojan Bogdanovic‘s most “ardent” suitors, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. As Aldridge observes, Bogdanovic is a restricted free agent, but it will be difficult for the Wizards to match a competitive offer sheet for the sharpshooter if they also have to match a max offer for Otto Porter.
  • The Knicks, who have already been linked to several point guards in the first 24 hours of free agency, have also expressed interest in Shelvin Mack, a source tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
  • Although the Heat‘s recruiting efforts today were focused on Gordon Hayward, the team also made time to show some love to Udonis Haslem, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press details in a pair of tweets. A free agent again this summer, Haslem is probably a good bet to re-sign with Miami on a minimum salary contract.
  • The Celtics, Hayward’s other Eastern Conference suitor, have talked to multiple free agents besides Hayward, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link). Murphy notes that the most notable conversation has been with Danilo Gallinari, though the two sides hadn’t yet set up a meeting as of this afternoon.

Pat Riley Talks Heat, Offseason, Haslem, Bosh

At his season-ending press conference today, Heat president Pat Riley expressed optimism and enthusiasm about his team’s future, despite the fact that he was disappointed Miami wasn’t able to sneak into the playoffs.

“While we’re not in the playoffs, we’re ahead of the game,” Riley said. “The table is set, with the pick. We obviously know we have flexibility in free agency. We will see how that works out with our players and other players.

“I was pissed. They deserved to get in and they didn’t get in…. We won four out of our last five games against the best teams in the conference and we still didn’t get in. It was a great disappointment, but at the same time it was a lot of success.”

In addition to suggesting that he’s not sure how many more non-playoff years he can take, Riley weighed in on several items of note relating the Heat and their summer plans. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights, courtesy of Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald

  • Asked about possibly pursuing a star free agent – as the Heat did a year ago with Kevin Durant – Riley downplayed that possibility, suggesting that “we are going to focus on our guys” rather than the “whales” he has talked about in the past. In addition to Dion Waiters and James Johnson, one of those guys is Udonis Haslem — Riley said today that he wants the longtime Heat big man back on the roster next season, calling Haslem “invaluable.”
  • The Heat may also go the trade route rather than making a massive free agent signing, according to Riley, who added that Justise Winslow is not “going anywhere.”
  • On the subject of Chris Bosh, Riley said there have been discussions within the organization about Bosh’s situation, but there’s no resolution yet.
  • Riley doesn’t mind not being at the very top of the draft, since he feels like he can get a solid player in the middle of the first round, and points out that seven of the top prospects are point guards, which he doesn’t need (Twitter links via Jackson).
  • The Heat president indicated that he was happy the team invested heavily in Hassan Whiteside last summer, adding that he believes the young center is capable of developing into the sort of player who averages 25 PPG, 17 RPG, and 6 APG.
  • Riley called the issue of resting healthy players an “absolute travesty” that needs to be addressed by the league, noting that the Heat don’t take part in that practice.
  • Riley also said that Miami’s goal is to establish a D-League affiliate within 100 miles of the NBA team (Twitter link via Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel). Currently, the Heat’s NBADL team plays in Sioux Falls, which is more than 1,800 miles away from Miami.
  • Be sure to check out Jackson’s recap for several more comments from Riley.

Udonis Haslem Wants Another Season In Miami

Veteran forward Udonis Haslem hopes to play at least one more season and he wants to stay with the Heat, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

The 37-year-old, who has spent his entire 14-year career in Miami, was motivated by the team’s near miss in its run at a playoff spot.

“I would love to be here,” Haslem said. “I would love to be a part of these guys’ process and maturation. And when the time does come, I want to be in a situation where I was able to help those guys get to the playoffs. Not making the playoffs is not the way I want to end. I’ve still got a lot of gas in the tank. We will see what happens.”

Haslem played sparingly this season, getting into just 17 games and averaging 7.6 minutes per night. But he understands his role as a mentor on a rebuilding team and is willing to continue it to remain in Miami.

Haslem is the last link to the Heat teams that dominated the Eastern Conference in the early part of the decade. He says he was never tempted to look elsewhere, even after Dwyane Wade departed for the Bulls last summer.

Haslem played this season on a one-year, $4MM contract, but will probably have to take a cut in pay if he returns. Between the Heat’s cap concerns and the salary structure in the new CBA, Winderman states that Haslem can expect something close to the veteran minimum of $2.3MM next season.

Keeping a roster spot open for Haslem could also be an issue, depending what happens with the Heat’s large contingent of free agents. However, coach Erik Spoelstra loves having what amounts to a player/coach on hand and is expected to be an advocate for keeping Haslem.

“I love U.D. … How else can I say it?” Spoelstra said. “He’s the last one, the last Samurai from the championship years. He has always embodied everything that we want from a Miami Heat player.”

Haslem will spend the summer working with James Johnson and Dion Waiters, even though they are headed toward free agency, as well as Tyler Johnson.

Will The Heat Add To Their Roster?

In the latest edition of his mailbag, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel broached the subject of Miami adding depth to their shaky roster. As one of Winderman’s readers pointed out, the Heat are within striking distance of a playoff spot, but are missing several players due to injury. What’s more, they’ve committed a roster spot to Udonis Haslem– a great clubhouse presence who isn’t an in-game contributor at this point in his career. In response, Winderman wrote:

“The Heat, for at least another week, not only won’t be able to dress the allowable 13 players, but like Sunday, will only be able to dress 11. Yes, I appreciate the ‘we have enough’ mentality that coaches such as Erik Spoelstra stress. But having enough does not mean having the maximum possible resources in a playoff race that will make every game count. Whether it is signing Carlos Boozer back from China or adding a defensive wing, you raise a legitimate point. This team is hemorrhaging roster spots, and if the mantra is to be all-hands-on-deck, then playing with a full deck would be the best place to start.”

Now tied with Detroit for the eighth seed of the Eastern Conference, the Heat enter a vital stretch of their season without Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, or Josh McRoberts. While the team could pursue Lance Stephenson, whose second 10-day contract in Minnesota recently expired, he won’t be playoff eligible. Aside from reaching out to Boozer, Winderman lists Okaro White– who is “hardly getting off the bench lately”- as a potential source of production.

Southeast Notes: Gordon, McGruder, Wizards

The trade that sent Serge Ibaka from the Magic to the Raptors opened an opportunity for 21-year-old forward Aaron Gordon to slide from the three to his natural position at the four, writes John Denton of the team’s official website. The third-year man is readjusting to the defensive responsibilities of the power forward position.

I need to become a better shot-blocker because I missed plenty of opportunities where I could have at least altered shots,” the Magic big man said of his first game back at power forward on Thursday night. “I was unsure of the timing, when to go and my positioning on the court.

Previously the Magic had been using Gordon as a perimeter defender charged with the task of checking the opposing team’s best scorer. “I’m used to not over-helping and over-committing because I’m usually guarding the best player on the floor,” Gordon said. “Now, that’s not the case and I have the leniency to go help and block shots.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Undrafted rookie Rodney McGruder is making a name for himself as a scrappy, pest of a player, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel. The forward has played a substantial role on a Heat team that has done nothing but exceed expectations this season. “He’s always head first, nose first into everything,”  teammate Wayne Ellington said. “He makes it hard for guys when he frustrates guys.
  • Backup center Willie Reed is day-to-day with ankle bursitis and didn’t travel with the team for Sunday’s matchup with the Mavs. With Reed out, the Heat will turn to veteran Udonis Haslem or an out-of-position James Johnson to handle duties at the five, says Winderman in a separate piece for the Sun-Sentinel.
  • The Wizards have some adjustments to make with offseason acquisition Ian Mahinmi back in the lineup and newly acquired Bojan Bogdanovic still settling in, writes J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic. “We’re trying to find some consistency,” said head coach Scott Brooks. “Getting Ian back, hopefully we can get him back to a stretch of games where he can play and build a chemistry with the group he’s out there with. Now Bojan so we can have him out there with that group. It’s consistency and understanding where we can get some points. I got to try to figure out what’s the best minute-wise and who plays and the matchups.
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