Over the last few years, Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem has caught a lot of flack from NBA fans on social media for remaining on the team’s roster despite not getting much playing time.
Though some fans seem to think he provides little value overall, NBA players clearly feel very differently. Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has become the latest NBA star to come forward to discuss Haslem’s value.
Damian Lillard says every team needs a player like Udonis Haslem in their locker room
“He got a presence with these dudes, what he says means something.”
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) March 15, 2023
This is far from the first time that a player has discussed Haslem and what he brings to the table for Miami. In fact, just a few days ago, Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks spoke glowingly of Haslem’s presence on the Heat’s roster.
That’s especially worth noting because Brooks has established a strong reputation of talking trash to plenty of players around the league.
As for Lillard’s comments, it’s pretty cool to see one of the league’s most well-respected veterans praise Haslem in such a way. Though Lillard may feel that every team could benefit from having a player like the three-time champion, the unfortunate reality is that not even the Heat will have Haslem for much longer.
The elder statesmen has stated multiple times that the 2022-23 NBA campaign will be his final season as a player. He’s admitted that the struggles the Heat have faced so far this season have been difficult for him, and that is surely partially because he knows that time is running out on his playing career.
Still, he has also made it clear that he has no plans of parting ways with the Heat anytime soon. In fact, he has said that he plans to be with the team every day following his retirement. It is unknown exactly what his role with the team will be once he retires. What is known, however, is that Haslem is going to be a leader and flag carrier for the Heat for many years to come.
As for Lillard, he is certainly approaching that elder statesmen status in the NBA. He’s already 32 years old and has shown no indications that he has any interest in ever playing for a team besides Portland.
It is possible that he will one day be for the Blazers what Haslem has been for the Heat for so many years.