NBA Rumors: Udonis Haslem Expected to Return to Heat for 17th Season

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

BROOKLYN, NY - APRIL 10: Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat smiles against the Brooklyn Nets  on April 10, 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

The Miami Heat expect Udonis Haslem to return for his 17th season in the NBA, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The 39-year-old hasn't made an official decision, but he's reportedly indicating he's leaning toward returning, and an associate believes the center will play another season.

If Haslem does decide to return to the Heat, he will make the $2.6 million veteran minimum.

Haslem entered the league in the 2003-04 season and has spent his entire career with Miami, winning three NBA championships.

While he was a starter and key contributor early in his career, lately he has been relegated to a bench role with just 40 combined games played over the last three years. He played just 74 minutes during the 2018-19 season.

Although he isn't expected to get many more minutes in 2019-20, his presence could be extremely valuable on a young roster, especially with Dwyane Wade retiring at the end of last season.

An Instagram post in June also showed him continuing to work out in case he does return.

"Most don't look like this at 39! Hell they ain't look like this at 19. Lol," Haslem wrote in the caption. "So y'all keep worrying about the last spot on the roster while I sit back and stay ready so I don't gotta get ready. I'm not saying I'm playing next year but if u with me then u will support whatever I do!!"

The Heat have seemingly been operating as if the center will play next year, waiving Yante Maten to keep space open on the roster. If Haslem doesn't return, the team will seek another veteran to fill the final spot.