Heat Make Important Statement on the Future of Udonis Haslem

Udonis Haslem

Getty Udonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat

Ahead of the opening of NBA free agency Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that the Miami Heat had been granted a meeting by one of the league’s most sought-after free agents, Jalen Brunson. Multiple reports on Thursday suggested that Brunson actually doesn’t actually have a meeting with the Heat. The focus remains on the Knicks and Mavericks for his services. 

While the Heat didn’t get their meeting with Brunson, they did meet with one of the free agents on the top of their list, Udonis Haslem. 

Heat Meet With Udonis Haslem

On June 30, the Heat were prepared with a team sent to make an early pitch to bring back the 42-year-old big man, Udonis Haslem for year 20.

“To show his continued importance and value to the franchise, the Miami Heat sent a delegation of employees to make a free agency pitch to Udonis Haslem promptly at 6pm tonight with hopes of luring him back for Year 20,” Tim Reynolds reported on Twitter.  

Haslem is the definition of a Heat lifer and has been with the team for his entire 19-year professional career. In that time, Haslem has been a part of three Heat championship teams. While he doesn’t make the impact he once did on the box score, his presence goes so much more. The enforcer of Heat culture brings a special toughness to the Heat locker room. 

The center has seen a drop in playing time recently, appearing in just 13 games in 2021-22 while averaging 6.4 minutes and 2.5 points. Despite not being a mainstay in Miami’s rotation, they have made it clear that the veteran has a spot on the team for as long as he wants it. 

The meeting and gesture show that the Heat have an interest to bring Haslem back, as of may the big man was still undecided on if he would return. 

“I will take my time and sit down the family, Pat, Micky and talk about what’s next and where it goes,” Haslem told reporters. “Now is time to take a mental break and figure it out.”

The Impact of Udonis Haslem

Haslem remains a key piece and ambassador of Heat Culture. The big man has been a major reason that the team has stayed competitive despite more than one rebuild. The Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard has called Haslem a soldier of Heat culture still patrolling the sidelines for Pat Riley. Between Haslem, head coach Erik Spoelstra, and Alonzo Mourning they work to keep the dream the always important culture that Riley brought to South Beach. The culture that has led the team to multiple titles and almost always in the postseason. 

It is Heat culture that has players linked to meeting with them, like Brunson, who they don’t even have the money to sign and the player knows but is still interested in taking a meeting. Players benefit from being in Miami. Andre Igoudala emphasized how Heat culture and examples like Haslem helped him as a valuable role player in this seasons championship run by the Golden State Warriors. 

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