Udonis Haslem to take a mental break after not making the Finals: ‘I want to be playing right now’

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Veteran Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem revealed that he is taking a mental break after the Heat failed to make the NBA Finals in the 2021-22 season.

The Heat reached the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2021-22 campaign, but they lost in Game 7 to the Boston Celtics, ending their quest for an NBA title.

“I want to be playing right now,” Haslem said. “But ain’t get what I want. I want to still be playing. So I’m not getting what I want in the moment. So right now it’s time to take a mental break and then figure that out, after that.”

Haslem, 41, has been a fixture on Miami’s roster since the 2003-04 season. While he no longer has a major role in the team’s rotation, he is a leader in the locker room and on the bench during games.

The three-time NBA champion is one of the most respected veteran leaders in the NBA, and he’s an invaluable piece of the culture that the Heat have created.

During the 2021-22 season, Haslem appeared in 13 games for Miami. He averaged 2.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.1 blocks per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the arc.

The Heat put together a championship-caliber team in the 2021-22 season, as they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference. However, they dealt with injuries to several players in the playoffs that hurt the team’s chances of moving on in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Miami would certainly love to have Haslem back as a vocal leader in the 2022-23 season, but it appears the veteran forward needs some time to make his decision on his future.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.