NBA Rumor: Udonis Haslem Free Agency

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Udonis Haslem still undecided about retirement

Haslem, 39, reiterated that he’s still undecided on whether to retire or continue his playing career at the end of this season. And yes, the fact that this season has been suspended and is in limbo could factor into his decision. “It’s hard to really say now because all the things that I really wanted at the end have been taken away from me,” said Haslem, who is in his 17th NBA season. “You want to walk away on your own terms, that has been taken away. You want an opportunity for the people that have loved and supported you and sacrificed so much for you to be here in this time of your career, that has been taken away. And you want to have something connected with the organization when you walk away.”

Miami Heat elder statesman Udonis Haslem has defied retirement for many seasons now, and he may just be doing it one more time. Speaking recently with the Miami Herald, the 39-year-old Haslem was asked if he was certain that the 2019-20 campaign would be his final one. “I can’t say,” replied Haslem. “The guys want me around. Bam [Adebayo] tells me every day, ‘I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do when you retire.’ Jimmy [Butler] always has me around. We’ll see. My kids are getting older. We’ll see.”

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.

Udonis Haslem: 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!! And if that ain’t good enough for u, in the words of Barbara Wooten f**k ya!! U was never wit me anyway!! Oh and one more thing. You out your 🐰 ass 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 f**king chain!!

Udonis Haslem: 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. Problem is majority of this world is average ASF!! Nobody ever expected shit from a young fat kid from liberty city. Hell why would they? But I’m thankful they didn’t. I guess I shouldn’t own Subways, and Einstein, and Auntie Ann’s, and Starbucks, and 800 Degrees Woodfire kitchens either huh? What I’ve grown to realize in my life is that my obsession with success, my drive to overcome obstacles, and my overall work ethics is way higher than most. And I’m ok with that. 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.

Udonis Haslem: 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!! And if that ain’t good enough for u, in the words of Barbara Wooten [expletive] ya!! U was never wit me anyway!! Oh and one more thing. You out your 🐰 ass 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 [expletive] chain!!

The Heat have filled Howard’s spot with the hiring of former Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Malik Allen, the former Heat player. Still, a vacancy from previous shuffling remains on Erik Spoelstra’s bench. But Riley recognized that Haslem also has created a rich life away from the court, with several South Florida enterprises, including an Aventura restaurant he operates with Wade. “He wants to buy pizza franchises and stuff,” Riley said. “There’s nothing wrong with that either.”

Haslem also re-signed with the HEAT on a one-year deal this past summer and talked with Basketball Insiders about his plans for the end of the season. “I’m gonna call it done too. There’s nothing else left for me to do on the basketball court,” Haslem told Basketball Insiders. “My kids are getting older, my son is playing college football at the University of Toledo, my 11-year-old is playing travel baseball and I never see him as he’s always out of town. My eight year old is playing travel basketball. There’s so many other things for me to be engaged in right now.”

“Every time I talk to the guys, they want me to come back, they want to know,” he said of his recent interactions at AmericanAirlines Arena. “I don’t know. I’m just chilling, having fun. I’ve got a lot of energy. It ain’t always getting exerted on the court, so I got to figure out somewhere to put it. I still got game left in me. “I might just go play in China or Europe or something. I’ve got some game left and I ain’t really trying to waste it too much more. So I’m going to figure it out.”

Udonis Haslem, who came into the league the same year as Wade, also will weigh his options once the season ends. And although Haslem said today that he has not made a decision – “I got a lot of time to think about that this summer,” he said – he has started cherishing the experiences more with the end nearing. “As you get older and you spend more time in this league and around younger guys, you just start to soak everything in a little more,” Haslem, 37, said following the Heat’s shootaround in preparation for tonight’s Game 5 against the Sixers. Miami trails in the series, 3-1.

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.

How come Udonis Haslem hasn’t re-signed with the Heat yet? If it’s expected, why the wait? Anthony Chiang: Because the Heat and Udonis aren’t really in a rush. But don’t worry, the feeling I’ve gotten from the team is that an agreement to return to the Heat is imminent. Udonis is expected to re-sign with Miami when he returns from his annual trip to China with Dwyane Wade as part of the Way of Wade tour. Miami has no salary cap space remaining, which means the Heat can only offer Udonis the $4.3 million room exception or a minimum contract. Most expect Udonis to get the $2.3 million veteran minimum contract he’s eligible for, as Pat Riley has said he hopes to “hold on” to the room exception to sign a player down the road. But remain calm, a deal between the Heat and Udonis should come soon.

The return of Waiters, Johnson and guard Wayne Ellington means the Heat could have up to 11 players from last season’s team back on the roster. Udonis Haslem is another free agent expected to return. And Whiteside believes that means a jump in the standings. “I definitely think we can be a top four team in the East,” Whiteside said when asked for the Heat’s ceiling. “I don’t think that’s out of the question. I believe in these guys and we’re going to keep building and keep doing what we did last year.”

Eventually, Wade’s decision could come down to perceptions of the Bulls and Heat going forward. “I think with his situation, if they decide to get rid of Jimmy [Butler] and start young, it’s a little bit different,” said Haslem, who again returns to free agency this summer. “I think we had a lot of growing pains, but I think we grew up a lot last year. So if they decide to go young and start over, I think we will be a little bit ahead of those guys.”

“When you get to this point of your career,” Haslem said, “you’ve got two options. You can either be a part of a rebuilding process, which is what I’m doing now, or you go be a part of a championship. If you’re part of a rebuilding process, you’re probably not going to play because the younger guys are going to play. If you join a championship roster, then you’re probably going to get minutes. Those are the decisions you’re faced with. You look at the guys that are my age, they’re guys in the playoffs. The other guy my age not in the playoffs is me. You’ve got two choices to make: whether you want to be a part of a rebuilding process and not get the minutes or you go to an organization and compete for a title and then you probably get minutes.”

“There is a lot to talk about that. Right now, I am still enjoying the opportunity to play the game,” he said. “Trust me, when I can’t compete at a high level and I can’t keep up, I’ll be the first to step away. I got too much pride. I got too much. I got too much love and joy for the organization. “I will never put them in a bad position as far as having me out there if I can’t perform. When that day comes, I will step away. I would gladly like to see my jersey go up if that’s the opportunity they give me.”

Haslem, who turned 36 last week, said his focus remains on playing three more seasons. He becomes a free agent July 1. “I know, for sure, I’ve got two years in me, two solid years for me to contribute,” he said, having filled in with meaningful minutes the past two seasons amid injuries to Chris Andersen and Hassan Whiteside. “Two years ago, I had to come in and play when Hassan, Bird, everybody was out, gave solid minutes, played well. This year it was in the playoffs, Game 6 in Charlotte. You just never know. I can be ready in those type of situations for a couple of years.”

“Honestly, I can play in situation where I can play 10 or 15 to 20 minutes a night, honestly, if I had to. But that’s not the situation I’m in. I keep my notes. I watch these guys around the league. I watch the guys of my age. I watch the David Wests, I watch the Richard Jeffersons, the guys that are my age and the guys that are getting consistent minutes and are in the rotation and I’m very realistic about who I am and what I am at this age.”

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Nets hoping for Andre Drummond buyout?

Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on a podcast with Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, that the Nets have their eyes on Drummond who’s playing on an expiring $28.7 million contract. ”People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That’s what people say they’re hoping for but that’s unlikely because Cleveland is still in it,” referring to the playoff hunt.
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John Wall: 'They thought I was done'

“I just wish I would have known up front and not have to beat around the bush to figure things out. That’s just my motivation there. They thought I was done. Basically, that’s how I feel. This is my opportunity to show them that I’m not done. But the most important thing for me is get the win. I don’t care how many numbers I have, it’s about getting the win. That’s the most important thing because if I get 40 and then we lose, the trade don’t look as bad from their aspect because they beat us that one game they did play us. So, my ultimate goal is to try to get a win for my team tomorrow.”
Well, that’s going to be hard to imagine once you hear his extended thoughts on playing the Wizards on Tuesday, which he shared with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller. Now with the Rockets, Wall admitted facing the Wizards is personal after how his exit was handled, and that he is out for revenge. “Just seeing everybody that’s over there, a lot of people that’s on that side that probably didn’t believe I could come back to be the person I am. And probably some people that had a little say so into me being traded,” Wall told Miller. “I feel like it was a whole process and it wasn’t just something that happened overnight. I think this was in the works. That’s my motivation. Who wouldn’t want to beat the team that traded them and felt like I was done?”
“Most importantly, all I really wanted from the start of all of it was just to be told the truth. That’s the most important thing and what made it so hard for me to understand what was going on because I wasn’t told the truth. I understand it’s a business and things go on and people move on and you get traded, organizations in different ways. When I heard the rumors, I called and asked are these true or are these something not to worry about? From that day forward, all I heard was ‘no, those rumors aren’t true, don’t worry about it.’ In all reality, it was true,” Wall said.