Barry Jackson

Heat’s Haslem seriously considered Cavaliers; Heat notes

Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem poses for the picture during the Media Day for the 2017-18 NBA season at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Monday, September 25, 2016.
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem poses for the picture during the Media Day for the 2017-18 NBA season at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Monday, September 25, 2016. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

Some Heat notes on a Tuesday:

• It’s difficult enough for some Heat fans to see Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys.

But imagine Udonis Haslem - Mr. 305 - also in Cavaliers’ wine and gold this season?

That was a real possibility at one point this summer.

Haslem told me on Tuesday that he thought about signing with Cleveland in July.

Did he seriously consider it?

“Yeah,” he said. “I got an interesting call from Cleveland. My son is out there [as a student and football player] at the University of Toledo in Ohio. It was something to consider.”

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue conveyed interest to Haslem through Cavs assistant and former Heat forward James Posey.

Haslem never visited the Cavaliers but suggested that his agent, Leon Rose, spoke to Cleveland management. “There might have been some conversations there,” Haslem said, smiling.

Haslem cracked that “now a day, you average five points and five rebounds and you get $40 million. There are minutes out there for a guy like myself regardless of my age (37). I get phone calls every summer. It's always something to consider because at the end of the day, I can still play.”

But ultimately his heart was in Miami, where he has played all 14 seasons of his career.

“I can't imagine being anywhere else,” Haslem said. “I’m all heart and going somewhere else, my heart just wouldn't be in it. I just wouldn't see the same player regardless of the opportunity to play and the minutes.

“This is the best place for me. I really want these guys to get this trophy. These guys work hard, they deserve it. I would love to see them have a chance to raise that trophy at the end of the season.”

But did seeing Wade sign with Cleveland make Haslem rethink that decision?

“It would have been funny [with Wade there] but I don't regret the decision I made,” Haslem said. “I'm where I'm supposed to be, I'm where I need to be. I'm where I'm most effective, even though it's not on the basketball court, I would like to think I impact this organization, this team just by bringing my presence and everything else.”

• Erik Spoelstra said he wants to play Hassan Whiteside alonside Kelly Olynyk some in preseason.

“They will have the ability to play together,” Spoelstra said. “How much will depend. Their games are so different. Their skill sets complement each other.”

Whiteside is intrigued, saying Olynyk is “a really good passer. He can space the floor. He's physical. So it's going to be good.”

• Josh Richardson said he genuinely doesn’t care whether he starts or not, but Rodney McGruder - who started the Heat’s opener at small forward - said winning the starting small forward job is important to him.

“Who wouldn’t want to start in the NBA?” McGruder said. “It’s fun starting.”

• Center A.J. Hammons, who entered camp as the front-runner for the 15th and final roster spot (not counting the one or two two-way players), will miss a week with the flu.

Even if UCF rookie shooting guard Matt Williams Jr. proves more deserving of the 15th spot than Hammons, this will be a difficult decision because of finances.

Hammons’ contract is guaranteed this season and next season, at $1.5 million per season. Williams’ deal isn’t guaranteed and can be converted into a two-way contract that would assign him for most or all of the season to the Heat’s minor league team in South Dakota, with Miami retaining his rights.

Teams can sign two players to two-way contracts. Former Michigan point guard Derrick Walton Jr. has a two-way Heat contract.

• Chris Bosh, who was released by the Heat this summer, attended Lakers practice on Wednesday as a guest of his former agent, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

Bosh is living in Southern California and associates say Bosh has by no means ruled out playing again despite his past battle with blood clots. His salary would not go back on the Heat’s cap if he plays again elsewhere.

This is my fourth post today. Please click here for my stories on what Derek Jeter said at his Marlins press conference today, a look at the Dolphins’ new starting cornerback and a six-pack of UM notes.

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