The Miami Heat made re-signing Udonis Haslem a top priority this offseason. The veteran forward has long been an ambassador for Heat culture, and to show his importance to the franchise, the team sent officials to visit him and extend an offer as the free agency window opened on June 30. Miami extended an open invitation for Haslem to return to the Heat for his twentieth NBA season.
Haslem was surprised by the visit and shared a hilarious story of how the meeting almost went wrong as a guest on Duncan Robinson’s Long Shot podcast.
“I was in Orlando with my kids and that sh*t almost got shot up. I was in Orlando with my kids out in the front yard and a black SUV pulled up riding slow,” Haslem said. “I didn’t know who the f*ck it was at first. My wife knew, but I didn’t know. So I’m outside with my kids in the front yard in Orlando…then I see this black SUV riding up slow. Now it’s creeping, and it’s slow… and I can’t see nothing! Now it’s stopped and he takes a little while before he gets out the car. My instincts kicked in.”
After the meeting, Haslem spent the summer mulling his decision over and has now decided to return to the Heat for his twentieth season. The Heat star announced his decision Sunday at his youth camp. After his announcment the star sounded off on Heat culture.
Udonis Haslem on Heat Culture
This ain’t no damn charity case. This is a sacrifice. I’m sacrificing for the next generation.
You know, as the bearer of Heat culture, I take it serious. It’s not a game. It’s not a joke. I know people talk about it. People, they may have this stigma on what it is and what it’s not. But it’s real. It is real. The culture is real. The culture has saved very many guys, not just me.
When you look at these undrafted guys, these guys who were on their way out of the league and people didn’t believe in them and people didn’t give them an opportunity, the culture saved them. That’s why I come back. Because I’ve watched the culture save so many like it saved me.
That’s what it is, for the people that don’t get it and don’t understand. Because people can’t get outside of themselves. Culture has saved me, and I want to continue to be part of the culture of saving people that come after me.
Heat Roster Next Season
With Haslem returning to the Heat next season, the team is expected to run it back. After Haslem signs, Miami will be too close to the luxury tax to add another player to it. The sweepstakes for Kevin Durant ended on Tuesday, which puts the Heat out of contention to land the Nets superstar. They also are reported to be no longer interested in trading for the Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell. Which makes sense after even the Knicks have been turned off by Danny Ainge’s giant asking price.