Though Udonis Haslem has not conveyed a final decision, the expectation inside the Heat is that Haslem will return for a 17th season with the team, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
An associate of Haslem also said Monday he believes Haslem will play another season and that Haslem has indicated he’s strongly leaning that way, barring a surprising change of heart.
That expectation of a Haslem return is a major reason why Miami waived Yante Maten last week instead of guaranteeing him another $50,000. If Haslem surprisingly doesn’t accept an invitation to return, the Heat would look at adding one more veteran.
But Haslem has been working out with the intensity of someone planning to play another NBA season. The Heat values Haslem’s leadership and is comfortable giving him the final roster spot if he chooses.
Haslem, 39, would make the $2.6 million veteran’s minimum but only $1.6 million would count against the Heat’s cap charge.
Haslem, who appeared in 10 games last season, said in February that he was leaning toward playing another season.
And he noted that even though he and buddy Dwyane Wade “started together and are going to finish here together,... it doesn’t mean we have to finish at the same time. That’s something that becomes more and more clear as you watch these paths go the way they’re going.”
Miami needed to cut Maten in order to create sufficient room under its hard cap to sign one more player to a standard fully guaranteed contract.
In June, Haslem - in an Instagram post - said: “I’ve never been the one to listen to outside noise. Key word is listen. Doesn’t mean I don’t hear. See the thing most average-minded people don’t get is if I let your expectations of me define me then I wouldn’t be here today…. Nobody ever expected [anything] from a young fat kid from Liberty City. Hell why would they? But I’m thankful they didn’t….
“It makes sense why most think I should retire at 39. Cause most would. Cause most are average minded. Most don’t look like this at 39! Hell they ain’t look like this at 19. Lol.
“So y’all keep worrying about the last spot on the roster while I sit back and stay ready so I don’t gotta get ready. I’m not saying I’m playing next year but if u with me then u will support whatever I do!! Not tell me what to do!!
“... You out your ... mind if you think I can’t still play this game. I’ll sleepwalk into a double-double cause I’m just built different!! Y’all should know that by now but keep hating. I need y’all!! A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and if I’m the weak link that’s a hell of a ... chain!!”
Because of the Heat’s sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, Miami will be operating this season under a firm $138.9 million hard cap, a number the Heat cannot surpass at any point through this coming season.
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Heat recently summoned undrafted St. John’s rookie guard Justin Simon to work out with the team at AmericanAirlines Arena, but he left without a contract.
Simon, a 6-5 guard, was named the Big East’s Defensive Player of the Year last season, when he averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 46.2 percent.
He played for the Chicago Bulls’ Summer League team in Las Vegas, averaging 6.8 points per game, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals.
Miami, which has been cycling through a few young prospects, has four open roster spots to use for training camp invitations and if it chooses, two-way contracts.
The Heat is expected to allow training camp invites - including Heat summer league players Kyle Alexander, Chris Silva and Jeremiah Martin - to compete for at least one two-way contract.
▪ In a classy move, Erik Spoelstra called in Maten last week to explain the decision to cut him. As cap expert Albert Nahmad noted, Maten is now ineligible to sign a two-way contract with the Heat and cannot play for the Heat’s G-League team in Sioux Falls, S.D.
After excelling in the G-League last season, he would prefer not to sign a two-way contract and is considering his options.
Here’s my Monday Dolphins post, with lots of lineup news and a quarterback update.
Here’s my Monday UM post, with exclusive details from Sunday night’s closed scrimmage.