Miami Heat Signs 41-Year-Old Power Forward: Report

Udonis Haslem

Getty Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat warms up before the game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on January 23, 2021 in New York City.

While it was highly expected for NBA veteran Udonis Haslem to return for his 19th season with the Miami Heat, it’s surprising nonetheless. At age 41, Haslem continues to be the oldest active player in the NBA.

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Haslem will sign a one-year veteran’s minimum contract ($2.6 million), the same deal he signed for the 2020-21 NBA season, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman, with his contract counting against the salary cap at $1.7 million.

The veteran power forward only appeared in one game last season. On May 13, during the Heat’s regular-season finale, he played for a total of two minutes and 40 seconds before getting ejected for an altercation with then-Sixers’ veteran Dwight Howard.

Udonis Haslem Gets Ejected 2 Minutes After Checking Into Season DebutUdonis Haslem got into it with Dwight Howard roughly two minutes into his season debut and was ejected. Just moments before, Pat Riley and the entire Heat arena gave him a standing ovation for checking into his first game of the season. Subscribe: Follow on IG: Follow us on Twitter: Like us…2021-05-14T00:53:29Z

Prior to getting ejected, Haslem received a standing ovation from Heat president Pat Riley and the crowd as he stepped onto the court.

Haslem joined the Heat in 2003, but he hasn’t been a permanent part of the rotation since the 2014-15 season. Over the past four years, despite very little time on the court, Haslem has found himself a niche role as the team’s de facto leader and mentor.

After the Heat were swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, Haslem didn’t hesitate to say he’d return for a 19th NBA season. “If I take an offseason, I might as well retire,” Haslem said. “So I don’t have an offseason. Straight from the season, I’m going back into the gym.”

The Heat Still Have 1 Open Roster Spot, But It’s Unlikely to Get Filled

Miami Heat trade

GettyPresident Pat Riley of the Miami Heat looks on against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second quarter at American Airlines Arena on December 25, 2020.

With Haslem committing to another season, Miami’s front office has successfully locked in 14 roster spots for the 2021-22 NBA season. While NBA teams can have a maximum of 15 standard-contract players on their roster, it’s acceptable to keep that number to 14 players.

On Wednesday, Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson tweeted, “Haslem’s return & signing is considered a formality at this point, unless he suddenly changes his mind. Unclear if Heat will then add a veteran 15th player (a wing or PG), which would put them over the tax. Teams permitted to keep 14. Several vet wings said haven’t heard from Heat.”

The Heat will retain Haslem for as long as he still wants to play. Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra says he can’t put a value on what Haslem provides for the team.

“Everybody in that locker room just has great respect and love for him,” Spoelstra said. “He’s all about the team,” Spoelstra said last season… “He’s a Miami Heat hall of famer, and his number will go up in the rafters as soon as he’s done.”

Miami Heat’s 2021-22 NBA Roster So Far

While the Heat said goodbye to Kendrick Nunn, Andre Iguodala, Trevor Ariza, and Nemanja Bjelica, the team also lost Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in the deal that brought Kyle Lowry to Miami.

In addition to Haslem, the following 13 players are locked in for the Heat’s 2021-22 NBA season:

Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, KZ Okapala, Dewayne Dedmon, Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, and Omer Yurtseven.

READ NEXT: Will the Heat’s Kyle Lowry Trade be Overturned? NBA Analyst Speaks Out

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