It has been several years since Udonis Haslem has been a regular contributor on the hardwood for the Miami Heat. Dating back to the 2016-17 season, the three-time NBA champion has appeared in just 64 total games, playing almost exclusively in garbage time and emergency situations
However, his continued presence — on the sidelines, in the locker room and behind the scenes — has paid massive dividends for the club over the years.
“I love having him in our locker room,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said in October, via FanNation. “I love having him lead and mentor every single day. I think his genius is the fact that he’s developing mentors around him, the next round of mentors, the guys who will really be caretakers for this culture and really help bring along other guys.
“It’s really an amazing quality that UD has. He has such a serving heart.”
And while he has already declared that the 2022-23 campaign will be his last as a player, Haslem has designs on remaining in Miami’s mix and doing his thing next season (and for many more seasons to come) in an entirely different capacity.
Udonis Haslem Wants to Remain With the Miami Heat as a Hands-On Minority Owner
The 42-year-old Haslem — who first joined the Heat as an undrafted rookie in 2003-04 after having played for a year in France — revealed to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson that he wants to stay in close proximity to his old teammates as part of the club’s ownership structure.
“Haslem, the embodiment of Heat culture, told The Miami Herald that he still intends to be around the team every day next season and beyond. And he has a unique role in mind: as a hands-on minority owner, a cog helping bridge all levels of the organization.”
Of course, that’s essentially the role that fans in South Beach had Dwyane Wade pegged for before he decided instead to join the Utah Jazz as a minority owner. But if there’s anyone in the organization’s history outside of D-Wade with the cachet to wear that hat, it’s Haslem.
This is what the Heat veteran had to say about his post-retirement plans:
My commitment, even though I’ll be retired, is to be here just as much as the players and the staff and be committed to the process of the future and winning… I look to take a path of ownership, but to be a working owner, not a guy who crosses his legs and sits on the sideline.
I want to be a guy that connects the dots between the locker room and front office, connects the dots between the front office and the owners. Sometimes you can miss things in those area.
Heat Branded With Less-Than-Flattering Label by Analyst
Bleacher Report‘s Dan Favale made an attempt to identify each team’s best one-word descriptor entering the stretch run of the 2022-23. And, well, the term he selected for the Heat was hardly one that projects confidence in the team’s postseason viability.
The word he ultimately settled on was fringe. Wrote Favale:
The Heat are operating on the fringes of the playoff discussion in almost every possible sense. They are steering themselves into the middle but might be on the precipice of the top yet also flawed enough to topple closer down toward the bottom. Where will they land, and how will it all end once the dust settles? Really, with how this season has gone, not even they can half-truly know.