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Report: Udonis Haslem May Return Next Season to Continue to Mentor Miami Heat
- Updated: February 24, 2020
Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald looked at Haslem’s status beyond this season, with the 39-year-old veteran offering no definitive statement on his plans beyond the current campaign.
“I can’t say,” Haslem said earlier this month. “The guys want me around. Bam [Adebayo] tells me every day, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do when you retire.’ Jimmy [Butler] always has me around. We’ll see. My kids are getting older. We’ll see.”
Haslem, a Miami native, has played all 17 of his NBA seasons with the Heat after signing with the team in 2003. That first contract was as an undrafted free agent, but Haslem would eventually be part of all three of the Heat’s NBA title teams.
One of the reasons that Haslem returned this season was to complete some unfinished business.
“I have a responsibility to these guys, and that’s why I’m back because I didn’t do my job the way I was supposed to last year,” said Haslem. “We have the potential to make the playoffs, and we didn’t.
“That didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t feel like I did the best job I could possibly do. So that’s why I’m back, to drive these guys to be the best they can be, get the most out of these guys, put these guys in a situation where I can walk away and say, ‘OK, they’re on the rise. They’re on the right direction.’ Just like the guys that came before me did to me.”
In recent years, Haslem’s time on the court has diminished considerably, with his presence in the locker room and serving as an experienced mentor the key reasons for his continuing career.
If Haslem does decide to call an end to his long career after this season, he’ll presumably do it in time for the Heat to prepare a night in his honor. The Heat’s final regular season home contest will take place on April 14 against the Toronto Raptors.