No player has logged more years with the Miami Heat than forward Udonis Haslem. He just wrapped up his 15th season with the Heat, after he signed a one-year deal to stay in Miami last season.
However, Haslem’s role for Miami has steadily diminished over the last three seasons and in 2017-18, he logged career lows in minutes (5.1 per game), points (0.6), rebounds (0.7) and field goal percentage (20.0). Haslem is a free agent this summer and told reporters in Miami he’s not thinking of retiring, but is looking to play somewhere that will afford him a bigger on-court role.
Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald has more from Haslem on his future:
“Every time I talk to the guys they want me to come back,” Haslem said after spending some time with youngsters at the Heat’s basketball camp at South Broward High.
“But I don’t know, man. I’m just trying to have fun. I’ve got a lot of energy. It ain’t always getting exerted on the court. So I’ve got to figure out somewhere to put it. I’ve got game left in me. I might just go play in China or Europe or something. I’ve got some game left. I ain’t really trying to waste it too much more. So, we’ll figure it out.”
Haslem said watching a veteran like David West of the Golden State Warriors contribute to that team’s back-to-back championship runs has him thinking he could perhaps do likewise.
“At the end of the day man I watch guys that contribute on championship teams like David West,” Haslem said. “I watch these guys my age and they’re contributing on championship-caliber teams and I feel like I can do the same thing. I’ve got to see what I’m going to next year.
“Am I a 30-minute a guy anymore? No. But I can contribute. That’s the only thing I want to do and if it’s not here I don’t know where it’s going to be. I just want to help somebody win some basketball games.”
Dwyane Wade, who is also a Heat stalwart and a free agent this summer, is still weighing whether or not to play a 16th NBA season as well. He recently said he wants to stay with the Heat if he does come back next season. Haslem told Navarro he plans to talk with Wade about what they may do next.
Additionally, Haslem said he, Wade and former Heat and current Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James spent time together before the start of the 2018 NBA Finals. A potential James return — he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent this summer, too — was not part of the conversation (yet) Haslem said.
“I spent some time with Bron,” Haslem said. “He was in Miami. Me, him and Dwyane got together and we spent some time together, just chopped it up. [A return to Miami] wasn’t part of the conversation. Obviously he was getting ready for the NBA Finals. But there are great pieces here. We all know the city loves him. We all know what he’s capable of doing, the organization. I would love to have him.
“But as a friend I support LeBron in any decision he makes. So we’ll see. Am I going to be a part of the recruiting process? Hell yeah. If we talk I’m going to throw it out there. But you just never know.”
Undrafted in 2002, Haslem spent his first pro season in France before signing with the Heat as a free agent in 2003. He is Miami’s career leader in rebounds with 5,711, and has appeared in 844 regular-season games — 33 shy of Wade’s record. He’s also seventh on the Heat scoring list (6,486 career points).
Among active players, only the Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki and the San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have spent the entirety of a career spanning at least 15 years with one franchise. Nowitzki and Parker are both free agents this summer (although Nowitzki has a team option that is expected to be picked up)
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.