Udonis Haslem will indeed return to the Miami Heat for his 16th NBA season.
Haslem, the team’s 38-year-captain and the Heat have reached an agreement on a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal.
Heat president Pat Riley indicated last month that he had a gut feeling Haslem would be back on the roster this year.
“I have a real good feeling UD is going to be back,” Riley said on Aug. 23. “There hasn’t been any announcement on that. It’s just a gut feeling about UD and what he wants to do. It’ll be a very awkward feeling for me after all these years of having him on the roster and not having him here.”
Haslem, a Miami High grad and an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has spent his entire NBA career with the Heat. He has been part of all three NBA championship teams in franchise history. He is the Heat’s all-time leader in rebounds (5,711). He is the first undrafted player in NBA history to be a team’s all-time leading rebounder.
But Haslem has shifted into more of a mentor role over the past few years. He played in 30 combined games throughout the past two seasons, totaling just 202 minutes on the floor.
“I enjoy being around the guys. I enjoy giving life to the guys,” Haslem said in May. “I enjoy working out with the guys. I enjoy seeing the things that we do off the court manifest to those guys on the court and having success.”
With Haslem slated to return, the Heat now has 19 players signed heading into training camp, one shy of the league maximum. The final spot is being reserved for Dwyane Wade, who has still not decided if he plans to return for a 16th season. The Heat will then have to cut its roster down to 15 before its Oct. 17 season opener against the Orlando Magic.
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