Heat captain Udonis Haslem, a Miami native, is a huge fan of all South Florida sports teams – including the Marlins and slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
As Derek Jeter introduced himself to Miami Tuesday as the Marlins’ new ownership leader, Haslem, 37, offered the Marlins a little advice – make sure to keep Stanton.
“I think it’s very important,” Haslem said. “I don’t know enough about the sport or the business side of things, but just hearing his name in trade rumors throughout the year was kind of surprising to me with the way he was hitting the ball. So to see him stay, I think it’s good for the organization, it’s good for the city. It’s just something to continue to build on.
“Plus, he’s my son's favorite player, my 10-year-old baseball guy, so it’s good that he sticks around.”
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Haslem, who treated his Heat teammates last season to box seats at a Dolphins game and spoke to the team over the summer, said he’s been to a handful of Marlins baseball games in the past couple years.
He said he was excited to read Tuesday about Jeter’s ‘love’ for Miami in a letter he wrote for the Player’s Tribune.
“It’s crazy because I was reading something about how fond of Miami he was because he took a [recruiting] visit to the University of Miami [when he was a teenager],” said Haslem, a huge Miami Hurricanes football fan. “I think that’s amazing.”
Haslem, who owns six Subway restaurants and is a licensed operator for two Starbucks, two Einstein Bros. Bagels and is a franchise investor in Auntie Anne’s, said he’s happy to see Jeter, 14-time All-Star who played 20 seasons for the New York Yankees and retired in 2014, make the jump from the locker room to owning a major league team in just three short years.
“It’s always different when you have an owner that not only is an owner but also has been where you are as a player and understands the situation you’re in and what you’re trying to get done,” Haslem said. “So, I think it’s a big move and I’m excited about it.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ Even though they haven’t had a chance to play together yet in practice or the preseason, coach Spoelstra said Tuesday there will be times this season when 7-footers Hassan Whiteside and Kelly Olynyk are on the floor together.
“I think they’ll have an ability to play together and we’re going to look at it in the preseason,” Spoelstra said. “How much in a game [we will see it] it will depend. It might not be every game. It might be some matchups. But because their games are so different, their skill sets do compliment each other. Kelly is skilled on the perimeter and Hassan loves to control in the paint. So we’ll explore that.”
▪ Last season, James Johnson didn’t join the Heat’s starting lineup until very late in the season. As a weapon off the bench, he had the ball in his hands a lot.
This season, though, as a member of the Heat’s starting lineup he’s going to have to share those duties more with Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. Spoelstra doesn’t expect it to be a problem.
“It’s a type of challenge we want right now,” Spoelstra said. “They’ll be able to work it out. Their hearts are in the right place. They’re all giving, sharing players, particularly JJ. He really loves to setup his teammates. What we want to do, you need talent, you need guys that can do something with the ball.”
Dragic, Johnson and Waiters played a total of 237 minutes together spread out over 37 games.
That ranked 104th among the Heat’s three-man lineups last season in terms of minutes player. The trio were a combined minus-8 together on the floor.