Heat Rumors: Udonis Haslem Will Return for 19th Season on Minimum Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2021

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Longtime Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has reportedly agreed to play a 19th season with the organization.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Wednesday that Haslem, 41, is set to sign a one-year contract at the veteran's minimum of $2.6 million.

The Miami native served as a key part of the team's frontcourt rotation for much of his career, highlighted by NBA championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013, but he's transitioned to a mostly leadership role in recent years.

Haslem appeared in just one game during the 2020-21 season, a May win over the Philadelphia 76ers where he was ejected after just three minutes because of an altercation with Dwight Howard.

"That's my favorite moment of the season so far," head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters at the time. "Just excessive passion, competitiveness and anger. Just love it. And that's why we roll with UD. Everybody in that locker room just has great respect and love for him."

The University of Florida product hasn't recorded more than 16 appearances in a season since 2015-16, tallying only 45 games played over the past five years.

He's remained an important part of the Heat's locker room dynamic in the role of captain, which he's filled for the past 14 seasons.

Haslem told reporters at the end of the 2020-21 campaign his position with the Heat extends into a year-round endeavor:

"What people don't understand is [Spoelstra] doesn't praise me and these guys don't listen to me just because I show up every day. I roll up my sleeves and I'm in the trenches and I get it done every day. ... I don't have an offseason. I'm 40 years old. If I take an offseason, I might as well retire. So I don't have an offseason. Straight from the season, I'm going back into the gym, I'm calling Bam [Adebayo], his [expletive] is coming with me. I spend time with these guys' family. This is a 24-hour job. This is a lifestyle for me. It's earned. Everything Spo gives me, it's earned."

Haslem has averaged 7.6 points and 6.7 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field across 859 regular-season games, all with the Heat. He's also made 147 postseason appearances.

He's unlikely to see significant minutes next season unless Miami has a multitude of frontcourt injuries.


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