Udonis Haslem

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.”

Heat Notes: Haslem, Spoelstra, Riley, Adebayo, Draft

Heat veteran Udonis Haslem is continuing to find ways to give back to the city of Miami despite a number of obstacles standing in his way, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. 

Haslem, 39, no longer receives much playing time for the Heat, thus limiting his production on the court for fans. The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced many community projects and aspirations to be put on hold for the time being, with some operating in a revamped way due to the virus.

“The way I look at it is that I got to be so much more than a basketball player at this stage of my life and of my career,” Haslem said. “I got to be so much more than a basketball player, man. It’s not like I’m going to be putting up double-doubles like I used to or something like that. So I have to continue to find ways to bring joy to this city.”

“At one point, it was by bringing championships or by my play or something like that. Now it’s like I’m not playing as much, so how can I continue to bring joy to this city? How can I continue to represent this city well? How can I continue to be the voice for the people on the other side of the bridge who don’t necessarily have a voice.”

Haslem did just that last Wednesday afternoon, distributing food to COVID-19 frontline workers around Miami and helping people in a time of need. His impact around the city of Miami unquestionably extends past what he’s accomplished on the hardwood.

For Haslem, a three-time NBA champion and a 17-year veteran, he’ll make a major decision on whether to continue playing or retire in the near future. As of today, however, he remains undecided on what’s next.

“It’s hard to really say now because all the things that I really wanted at the end have been taken away from me,” Haslem said. “You want to walk away on your own terms, that has been taken away. You want an opportunity for the people that have loved and supported you and sacrificed so much for you to be here in this time of your career, that has been taken away. And you want to have something connected with the organization when you walk away.

“Me and the Miami Heat will always be connected, that hasn’t been taken away. But I wanted to have the opportunity to sit down and plan something with them. I’ll never have something close to like what Dwyane had. But the organization and myself deserve to have one particular night when we have a situation collectively to represent one another and do it the right away.”

Here are some other notes out of Miami tonight:

  • With Erik Spoelstra turning 50 years old later this year, the veteran coach looked back on his successes with the franchise and what’s to come, as examined by Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “My path could have been a whole lot different if I worked for a different organization,” he said. “And I find great purpose in being a steward and a caretaker of this culture. It fills my cup. I absolutely love it. Pat and Micky started this thing with a huge vision, 25 years ago, and then we’ve been able to get to the mountaintop three times, based on that vision.”
  • Winderman also examines in his daily mailbag whether Pat Riley painted himself into a corner by comparing Bam Adebayo to Dwyane Wade, examining his comments and how they could have a positive impact on Adebayo. “I’ve never met a man like this, a player, who was so respectful, had so much dignity, was such a team guy, that has grown to a point where he wants this responsibility,” Riley said of Adebayo last week. “And night in and night out, we see the best of the best.”
  • Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald explores which draft prospects are being linked to the Heat and who could be a good fit for the team. Miami has prepared for the draft much like other teams, conducting film sessions and virtual meetings to discuss talent. It remains unclear when the NBA will formally hold the event this year.

Heat Notes: Butler, Haslem, Iguodala, Facilities

After rumors of discontent and/or tension with teammates followed Jimmy Butler from Chicago to Minnesota to Philadelphia, we’ve heard nothing but rave reviews this season about his fit in Miami. During a weekend appearance on Instagram Live with Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe, Butler confirmed that he’s “hella happy” with the Heat, as Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relay.

“Without a doubt. There ain’t a better place to be for me. Miami is it,” Butler said. “We got the right young guys, we got the right vets. (The young guys) get it. They get it and they’re thirsty to get back to hooping. I think I built bonds with a lot of my teammates on all my former teams. But this organization is special.”

According to The Herald duo, Butler also suggested that he likely won’t be part of USA Basketball’s 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics, which have been rescheduled for 2021. The star swingman won a gold medal with Team USA in Rio De Janeiro in 2016, but indicated he’s prioritizing the NBA over international competitions at this point in his career.

“I told (Carmelo Anthony) that if he plays (in the Olympics), I play,” Butler joked. “‘Melo said that he’s not playing.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Appearing this week on NBA TV (video link), Heat veteran Udonis Haslem admitted that the unusual circumstances of the NBA’s suspended season may influence his decision on whether to retire this offseason or return for another year. “One thing that I’ve always wanted is to be able to do is leave this game on my own terms,” Haslem said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Another thing that I’ve always wanted is to be able to have the opportunity to create a pathway for the next generation, as far as passing on the Heat culture. And the third thing that I wanted to do was to be able to leave this game with an opportunity to make a good playoff run. All three of those things have been taken out of my control right now. So we’ll just have to see.”
  • The NBA plans to allow teams to reopen their facilities for workouts as early as Friday, but the Heat don’t intend to start that process until Monday at the earliest, a source tells Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The team also plans to call back Butler and Andre Iguodala soon, according to Winderman, who notes that the two veterans – both in California – are the only two players currently away from South Florida.
  • As Winderman observes in another Sun-Sentinel article, if the NBA ultimately decides to shift its annual calendar and start the regular season in December on a permanent basis, it could open the door for the Heat to once again host the All-Star Game. The usual February dates have been problematic for the city, since the Miami International Boat Show and Coconut Grove Arts Festival generally take place on the same weekend. The All-Star Game hasn’t taken place in Miami since 1990 and has never been played at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Heat Veteran Udonis Haslem Not Thinking About Retirement

Depending on whether or not the NBA resumes the 2019/20 season, it could represent the end of the line for longtime Heat veteran Udonis Haslem. The 39-year-old has served as a team leader in recent years, appearing in just 43 games over the last four seasons.

Since 2003, Haslem has been a mainstay in South Beach, helping Miami win several championships while also working with young Heat players on the rise. It could all be over, but Haslem has not weighed the possibility of retirement just yet.

“Yeah, I mean, everybody, obviously, it comes to mind,” Haslem said during a conference call on Friday, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “For me, I’m still maintaining hope that we can salvage some of the basketball season. So I haven’t gotten to that point yet. And in the midst of all this, there is a lot going on.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the entire world in a standstill, including that of professional sports. Haslem recently published a strong Players’ Tribune writeup urging people to take the coronavirus spread seriously by practicing social distancing.

“I’m seeing people starting to make the move, and starting to impact,” he said. “I’m sure it wasn’t just my letter. I’m sure a lot people had ideas in mind about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it. I’m just seeing everybody coming together.”

It’s been clear that Haslem is valued as a veteran leader for a young Heat team that – before the season’s suspension – was among the best in the Eastern Conference. As the league remains hopeful to resume the campaign, Haslem admitted that thinking about the game is challenging.

“Right now, there are bigger things going on than basketball,” Haslem said. “So it’s really kind of hard to focus on basketball.”

Heat Notes: Haslem, Mulder, Dragic, Free Agency

If the NBA season doesn’t resume, that will likely mark the end of Udonis Haslem‘s long career, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The veteran forward, who will turn 40 in June, returned for another year because he didn’t want to leave the league after a non-playoff season.

Haslem didn’t commit to retiring when asked about the possibility last month, but he has gotten into just three games this year and has played a combined 21 minutes. It’s his fourth straight season with minimal court time as he has evolved into more of an assistant coach than a player. Winderman is confident that Haslem’s number will be retired after 17 years with the Heat.

There’s more this morning from Miami:

  • After the Heat signed Kendrick Nunn off the Warriors‘ G League affiliate late last season, Golden State has done the same thing to Miami by taking Mychal Mulder from the Sioux Falls team, Winderman notes in a separate story. When Mulder signed a 10-day contract with the Warriors in late February, Heat officials expected him to eventually return to the organization. Instead, he had a strong performance in his tryout and earned a multi-year deal. Winderman adds that Miami elected to give a two-way contract to Gabe Vincent rather than Mulder.
  • An associate of Goran Dragic tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald that the point guard expects a sizable one-year offer from the Heat this summer, likely around the $19MM he is currently making. Dragic will be a free agent after five and a half years in Miami, and Jackson notes that his friendship with Jimmy Butler provides extra incentive to keep him around. “We’ll see,” Dragic responded when asked about signing for one season. “A lot of different factors, my family, myself. I would say it’s too soon to talk about it. I’m not thinking about my next contract. I’ve always been a guy in the present.”
  • The Heat can create more cap room this summer than any other playoff team, but they might opt to keep the current core together, Jackson adds in the same piece. Opening cap space would mean renouncing most of their free agents — a group that includes Derrick Jones Jr., Jae Crowder and Meyers Leonard as well as Dragic. Jackson doesn’t see any free agent targets worth that gamble, unless Anthony Davis decides to leave the Lakers, while the potential loss of revenue from the league shutdown makes the salary cap unpredictable.

Southeast Notes: Haslem, Monk, Isaac, Wizards

The NBA’s oldest player, Vince Carter, is expected to retire at season’s end. However, the league’s second-oldest player isn’t sure whether he’ll call it a career too. Asked earlier this month if 2019/20 will be his final season, longtime Heat big man Udonis Haslem was noncommittal, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes.

“I can’t say,” Haslem said. “The guys want me around. Bam (Adebayo) tells me every day, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do when you retire.’ Jimmy (Butler) always has me around. We’ll see. My kids are getting older. We’ll see.”

According to Jackson, Haslem – who has logged 21 minutes all season – has acknowledged he’d like to play more, but says he has found “a joy” in a role as a veteran leader and mentor. Although the 39-year-old hasn’t been a regular rotation player since the 2014/15 season, the Heat value his leadership and believe it has outweighed the value of filling out the 15th roster spot with a prospect. We’ll have to wait to see if Haslem once again occupies that final roster spot in 2020/21.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Hornets issued a statement in response to Malik Monk‘s indefinite suspension today, which reads as follows (Twitter link): We are disappointed in Malik’s decision-making that resulted in his suspension. As an organization, we do not condone his behavior. However, we are committed to supporting Malik during this time.”
  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac isn’t expected to return this season due to a knee injury, but he’s back with the team and participating in some light shooting drills this week, per John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com. “I’m not completely sure,” Isaac said when asked if he could play again this season. “I just want to continue to be wise, listen to the coaching staff and what management is thinking and then move accordingly.”
  • Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said on Sunday after losses to Cleveland and Chicago that his team was “playing soft,” writes Eric Woodyard of ESPN. The club lost again on Monday, but was far more competitive in that game, pushing Milwaukee to overtime.
  • Michael Lee of The Athletic implores frustrated Wizards guard Bradley Beal to look on the bright side of a losing season that Lee argues should be considered at least a “partial success,” given preseason expectations.

Heat Notes: Winslow, Haslem, Silva

After missing a month due to a bone bruise in his back, Heat forward Justise Winslow returned to action last Wednesday, logging 16 minutes against Indiana. However, he complained of discomfort after the game and has been back on the shelf since then, having returned to Miami before the club’s road trip was finished.

According to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald, the decision to send him Winslow early was made by the team, rather than the player. However, it was not disciplinary in any way — the Heat simply wanted to accelerate the diagnosis and treatment process for Winslow, who is consulting with a specialist regarding his back injury.

Now that the Heat are back in Miami following Sunday’s loss in New York, head coach Erik Spoelstra expects to have more information soon on Winslow’s latest setback, Jackson writes.

“He’s going to shut it down a little bit, but he’s taking it well. He’s in the right state of mind,” Derrick Jones said of his Heat teammate. “He was good with (leaving the road trip early). He’s going home to get better and healthy.”

Here’s more out of Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem hasn’t officially announced that this will be his final NBA season, but Dwyane Wade‘s upcoming three-day jersey retirement proceedings got the big man thinking about what his own farewell would look like, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “I mean, mine’s going to go forever, because I’m from there,” the Miami native said, joking that he’ll need at least a week. “I haven’t even thought about it. I just saw that he got two or three days. Mine’s going to be parties in a lot of different areas of Miami when I retire.”
  • In a separate mailbag article, Winderman explores whether the current Heat roster is built to win in the playoffs, given its reliance on young players like Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, and Duncan Robinson.
  • As we relayed earlier today, the Heat and Chris Silva have reached an agreement on a three-year deal that they’ll finalize on Tuesday. Andre Fernandez of The Athletic tweets that the contract will be fully guaranteed for the rest of this year and next season, but not for 2021/22.

Southeast Notes: Heat, Hornets, Thomas, Wizards

As we relayed earlier today, Dion Waiters won’t travel with the Heat this weekend as he looks ahead to potentially making his season debut next Tuesday. However, he won’t be the only Miami veteran who is potentially away from the team on its road trip.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra said today that the Heat are planning to be without Jimmy Butler and James Johnson for Saturday’s game in Milwaukee and Sunday’s contest in Minnesota, per the team (Twitter link). Butler’s regular-season debut with Miami has been postponed due to the birth of his daughter, while Johnson is still working on his conditioning.

According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link), Udonis Haslem is also dealing with a wrist injury and won’t play on Saturday, so two-way players Daryl Macon and Chris Silva should both be active, joining the other 10 players on the Heat’s standard roster. Miami has one open spot on its roster but can’t currently fill it due to hard-cap limitations.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Terry Rozier, the Hornets‘ big offseason acquisition, struggled in his debut on Wednesday and found himself on the bench down the stretch as Devonte’ Graham handled point guard duties, racking up 23 points and eight assists. That may not happen often, but James Borrego‘s decision to roll with Graham showed that the Hornets head coach is willing to make good on his preseason promise to dole out minutes based on performance, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer.
  • While Isaiah Thomas isn’t quite ready to return from his thumb injury, he believes he’s capable of helping the Wizards and improving his own stock in the process — and he thinks head coach Scott Brooks will put him in position to do just that, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. “He wants what’s best for me,” Thomas said of Brooks. “He wants me to play well, obviously, and get what I deserve. And that’s to get paid one day.”
  • Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington examines the Wizards‘ options for filling Jordan McRae‘s minutes as the guard recovers from a broken finger.

Heat Notes: Butler, Johnson, Haslem, Waiters

Jimmy Butler is insisting that his new Heat teammates follow his intense work ethic, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. In the week before camp opened, Butler set up early-morning workouts to prepare for this season. In Butler’s case, early meant 4 am.

“I got here at about 6:05 one morning, and Jimmy’s in a full sweat, and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Damn, I thought I was going to be the first guy working out,’” Meyers Leonard said. “I was with a couple of the young guys. That’s impressive to me. That’s a superstar and a guy you can count on and is clearly ready to put the work in and carry the load.”

That’s the type of extreme leadership that caused the Heat to make Butler the centerpiece of their offseason plans. Not only does he have his younger teammates in the gym before sunrise, he’s constantly challenging them to get better, particularly first-round pick Tyler Herro.

“He just wants to win,” Herro said. “He’s not a bad guy like everyone thinks he is. He’s a really good teammate. For him to take me under his wing early on just means a lot to me. He’s a really good guy.”

There’s more Heat news to pass along:

  • Veteran forward James Johnson won’t be permitted to participate in the start of camp because he failed to meet conditioning requirements, Jackson tweets. Johnson has a $242K likely bonus built into his contract regarding body fat percentage and weight requirements that he has met the last two years, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Even though he has barely played the past three seasons, 39-year-old Udonis Haslem wasn’t ready to retire, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Haslem told reporters it would have bothered him that the Heat missed the playoffs in his final season. “These guys can come back another season and say, ‘OK, we didn’t reach our potential. Let’s try it again.’ I’ve got to live with it,” Haslem said. “I’ve got to sleep every night knowing I had a great 17-year career, but my last year we didn’t make the playoffs, my last year we didn’t reach our goals, my last year, we didn’t reach our potential, my last year, Dion [Waiters] wasn’t the best he could be, my last year, Justise [Winslow] wasn’t the best. I have to live with it.” Haslem added that he hasn’t decided if this will be his final season.
  • Personnel changes mean Johnson and Waiters will have to adjust to being complementary players this year, Winderman states in a mailbag column.

Heat Notes: Butler, Olynyk, Winslow, Haslem

The culture established by team president Pat Riley was a deciding factor in Jimmy Butler agreeing to join the Heat, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

“The winning habits, the winning ways. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?” he said. “I was excited to have an opportunity to come here, to be here, but when I keep hearing about this culture I was like, ‘I need that in my life.’”

Butler, who received a four-year deal worth approximately $141MM as part of a sign-and-trade with the Sixers, has shown that work ethic during early-morning workouts and in pickup games. Riley describes his biggest summer acquisition as a top-10 player in the NBA

“The one thing that I feel that I owe the franchise and this city is to put the most competitive team on the court that we can and one that will compete for championships,” Riley said. “I think having Jimmy Butler here is a step in that direction.”

We have more on the Heat:

  • Big man Kelly Olynyk won’t be available for the start of training camp but he’s expected to be ready for the opener, Reynolds reports in the same story. He suffered a bone bruise in his right knee while playing for Team Canada prior to the FIBA World Cup. Every other player on the training camp roster is expected to be available at the start of camp.
  • Riley wasn’t thrilled that Justise Winslow said publicly he wanted to be the starting point guard, Reynolds tweets. Winslow commented that he wanted to be the team’s floor leader earlier this month. He played well in that role last season after injuries struck but the starter in recent seasons, Goran Dragic, remains on the roster.
  • Butler would consider playing for Team USA in next year’s Olympics if he’s asked, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.
  • Prior to re-signing veteran forward Udonis Haslem, Riley asked him if he wanted to coach this summer, Reynolds tweets. Haslem said he wasn’t interested in coaching but Riley believes he’ll eventually change his mind, Reynolds adds.