Dwyane Wade surprised Udonis Haslem with a bottle of champagne and two toasting flutes at the end of the regular season.
It was Wade’s way of celebrating the completion of their 15th season in the league together.
“In this business and in this life you don't have a lot of time to reflect,” Haslem said Tuesday after the Miami Heat completed afternoon shoot around prior to Game 5 of its first round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“You're looking ahead and always trying to get better, trying to work toward the next situation, the next opportunity. It was just an opportunity to reflect a little bit.”
Reflection is something Wade, 36, and Haslem, 37, have done a lot of lately. They filmed an hour-long special for FoxSports Sun on March 20, interviewing each other and discussing old memories.
So when will they get to those retirement questions? Wade sidestepped that after the Heat’s Game 4 loss on Saturday. Haslem did the same Tuesday, adding there will be more than enough time this summer for he and Wade to discuss it on the golf course or during their family vacations or annual trip to China.
“He’s going to try to teach me how to play golf,” Haslem said of what he and Wade have planned as soon as the Heat’s playoff run ends. “I don’t know how in the hell, 'cause he just learned. But we’re going to have a lot of conversations this summer, too, so we’ll figure it out.”
As long as they have been teammates, Wade and Haslem have always said they’ve wanted to finish their careers together. After Wade decided he was leaving for Chicago in the summer of 2016, the prospect of that happening looked bleak. Then, the Heat surprisingly was able to reacquire Wade at the trade deadline in February, sending a 2024 second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring the most famous face in franchise history home.
While Wade has had some special on-court moments since his return — including leading the Heat to a Game 2 win in Philly with a game-high 28 points off the bench — Haslem has maintained his role as the veteran voice in the locker room.
The difference is while Wade still provides on-court value Haslem has only seen the floor in garbage time this season. He has appeared in only 14 games and played just 72 minutes total this season. The last time Haslem played was the Heat’s blowout win in Atlanta on April 4.
Haslem is playing for the veteran minimum this season and like Wade is a free agent this summer. While Miami could offer both the veteran minimum ($2.3 million each) to return, Wade could potentially ask for more — like the team’s exception money — having proven his value in the fourth quarter and in the playoffs.
Asked Tuesday if he might be a package deal with Wade, Haslem smiled.
“If we’re going to split the money,” Haslem said. “ ’cause I know he's going to get more than me. That's the only way we're going to package it, we'll bust that money down the middle.”
Then, Haslem got serious.
“Nah, you know what, we want to finish together — that’s something we've talked about and that's been our goal,” he said. “But things change.”
Although he has maintained all season he believes he can still play and help a team, Haslem said he has also taken the time to capture memories and enjoy them over the course of the season.
“As you get older and you spend more time in this league and are around younger guys, you just start to soak everything in a little more,” he said. “It just gradually comes with the territory, comes with the job. As every year goes by, I started to appreciate different things about the job and the situation, opportunities that I've had the last 15 years, but also I've started to appreciate more the things that I missed out on over the last 15 years.
“So it’s one of those things where I’ll take my time in the summer and just decide what my next step will be.”