NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz on Udonis Haslem, Shabazz Muhammad and More

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 16, 2018

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 10:  Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat handles the ball against the Washington Wizards on March 10, 2018 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

If NBA rosters were puzzles, then mid-August would be the time for adding the final piece or two to complete the picture.

In other words, frameworks are in place, but there's still time for last-minute tinkering.

The latest additions to the rumor mill all fit that department, with seldom-used reserves Udonis Haslem and Shabazz Muhammad headlining the most recent buzz.


Heat, Haslem Progressing on Contract Talks

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

The Miami Heat appear to be getting positive vibes from one of their franchise icons about a potential new deal.

Sorry, Dwyane Wade fans—he's not the icon in question.

Rather, it's Wade's longtime running mate Udonis Haslem, who Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported is becoming more likely to sign on for a 16th season in South Beach:

Tim Reynolds @ByTimReynolds

Udonis Haslem and Miami Heat officials have had direct conversations in the last few days, with both sides now even more convinced that he will return to the team for a 16th season — as the Heat have hoped. Not finalized yet.

At this point, the 38-year-old mostly handles mentorship duties. He was last a rotation regular in 2014-15, making only 67 appearances over the three seasons since. He hasn't done much with the scant minutes he's received, either, averaging just 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 points on 37.4 percent shooting.

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That said, the co-captain's voice carries as much weight as any inside the locker room.

"I'm on board with whatever it takes for us to be successful and to put ourselves in the best position to have an opportunity to hold that [championship] trophy up at the end," Haslem said in October, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.

Assuming Haslem returns, he will enter a similar logjam as last season, with Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk, James Johnson, Bam Adebayo and Justise Winslow all factoring into the power rotation.


Bucks Nearing 2 Training Camp Contracts

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 5:  Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against the Brooklyn Nets on April 5, 2018 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downl
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

Muhammad, a former lottery pick, reached a career crossroads last season.

His playing time and scoring average had both dipped to four-year lows, and the Minnesota Timberwolves waived him in March. But he latched on quickly with the Milwaukee Bucks and provided a second-team spark down the stretch, averaging 8.5 points in only 10.6 minutes across 11 outings.

That was enough to convince the Bucks he's worth a longer look, as they are "working on a deal" to keep him around and let him compete for a roster spot in training camp, a source told Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Muhammad has proved he can score at the NBA level (career 18.9 points per 36 minutes), but his offensive ceiling is capped by an inability to stretch the floor (career 31.9 percent from distance) or provide adequate playmaking (career 1.1 assists per 36 minutes).

He must either prove he's more than a one-dimensional player or show that dimension is potent enough to demand a roster spot.

Muhammad will have competition in his quest. Summer-league standout Christian Wood is also Milwaukee-bound with eyes on a permanent gig, sources told Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania.

Wood has had two brief spells in the Association, making 17 appearances for the 2015-16 Philadelphia 76ers and 13 for the Charlotte Hornets the following season.

He's showed better on the junior-varsity circuit, though. He was an All-NBA G League second-teamer last season, averaging 23.3 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Delaware 87ers. He followed that up by earning All-NBA Summer League first-team honors for Milwaukee in Las Vegas, averaging 20.4 points and 10.8 rebounds while flashing face-up and post-up games, plus above-the-rim ability.


CHRISTIAN. WOOD. THROWS. IT. DOWN. #NBASummer on @NBATV https://t.co/HzeN7AJgC3

The Bucks have 14 players holding guaranteed contracts for 2018-19, so it will be an uphill climb for both Muhammad and Wood.


Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference. Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.


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