Udonis Haslem’s contract situation seems pretty straightforward: He has a $4.62 million player option for next season, the last year of his contract, and he said Thursday that his plan is to opt into that contract, as everyone would expect.
But there’s a variable that could leave him with a more complicated decision to make this summer.
If the Heat believes it can somehow convince Carmelo Anthony to join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, the Heat likely would ask Haslem to opt out and sign a multiyear deal for less money.
Even if Anthony proves to be an unrealistic target, the Heat would still have the option of asking Haslem to opt out and take a pay cut to lessen its onerous luxury-tax burden, in exchange for a new multiyear contract.
Haslem made it clear Thursday that he would love to spend several more seasons with the Heat.
Asked if he would be willing to take less for a longer deal, Haslem said: “It’s something I would sit down and talk about with my family and Hank [agent Henry Thomas].”
Haslem, who turned 34 on Monday, has sacrificed for the Heat before; he took a five-year, $20 million contract in 2010 instead of five-year deals that could have reached $35 million with Dallas or Denver.
The Heat has shown loyalty to Haslem, declining to pursue a February trade with Philadelphia that would have potentially sent Haslem and other pieces to the 76ers for Evan Turner.
The 6-8 Haslem noted: “If I was an inch or two more, I would be making $2 million more.
“But if I’m not the size I am, maybe I’d be lazy and not have the work ethic I have.”
Twice in this postseason, James has publicly called for more minutes for James Jones. And after Game 1 of the Finals, Wade publicly implored Erik Spoelstra to go deeper into his bench.
Do any of these comments by the Heat’s stars bother Spoelstra?
The coach indicated Thursday they do not, adding: “There’s open communication about it.”• One of the great stories of last year’s Finals was Pat Riley coming to Spoelstra’s hotel room with three bottles of wine after the Heat was blown out in Game 3 in San Antonio. Spoelstra, Riley and Heat assistant coaches watched game film deep into the night.
With the Heat playing at home Tuesday, Spoelstra said there was nothing like that after Miami was soundly beaten in Game 3.
“He didn’t come over to my house with a case of beer,” Spoelstra said. “We all went our separate ways, watched film and met in the morning. I’d love to give you guys a great story line — ‘Pat came over at 3 a.m. and gave me a great analogy.’ ”• Spoelstra said he opted for Jones over Shane Battier in Games 2 and 3 to space the floor.
• As part of the league’s $14 million playoff pool, the Heat will receive a $3.6 million playoff share if it wins the Finals, $2.8 million otherwise. The money is split among players. Heat players also can vote to award a share to former teammate Roger Mason Jr. if they choose.