Why the Heat keep re-signing Udonis Haslem

Why the Heat keep re-signing Udonis Haslem

Free Agency

Why the Heat keep re-signing Udonis Haslem

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Udonis Haslem has agreed to re-sign with the Miami Heat on a one-year, veteran minimum deal. This will be the big man’s 20th season in the league, all with the Heat. His longevity in the league lengthened the second half of his career, which helped make him the biggest per-minute earner among active players.

Haslem's value to the Heat

The Heat continue to re-sign Haslem even though he hasn’t been in their rotation for a while now. The main reason they keep bringing him back is because of his veteran leadership, which has helped contribute to their recent on-court success.

According to head coach Erik Spoelstra, he has helped develop leaders on the team and cultivate their winning culture. He also adds Haslem has been a strong mentor for their veteran players who helps them grow and gives them stability. Former big man Channing Frye adds that Haslem has helped diffuse adverse situations and brings the team together in those moments.

Haslem's career earnings

In 2010 when the Heat pursued to pair Dwyane Wade with LeBron James and Chris Bosh, sacrifices had to be made since they didn’t have enough cap room to give all three players maximum contracts. While all three took slightly less than the maximum, Haslem made the biggest sacrifice to return to the Heat and help make them as deep as possible.

Haslem re-signed with the Heat on a five-year deal worth $20 million in 2010. He reportedly declined offers from the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets for five years, $34 million. While $14 million seems like the going rate for starter level and high-end bench players today, that was a significant amount of money back then that would serve as a massive separation in any contract negotiation. He also took another pay cut in 2014 when he declined his player option and re-signed for less money.

Haslem has earned $69 million in his career through 2021-22. His newest one-year deal will put his career earnings at $71 million. He has acknowledged in the past that he has given up $70 million in his career to remain with the Heat, and he has now made that amount in career earnings.

One can look at part of the Heat’s decision to keep Haslem all these years as a way to reimburse him for his lost money. Of his $71 million earned, $25 million of it came since 2014 when he ended his 2010 contract to take another pay cut. It’s possible he made up his lost earnings and even made more than he would’ve had his career ended earlier. This immense gesture of loyalty, particularly to a non-star player, could pay dividends to the Heat with their plans to sign top free agents in the future.

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