Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat is one of the most loyal and beloved players the franchise has ever had. The thought of seeing him compete in anything but red, white and orange is simply preposterous.
The 11-year veteran has a $4.62 million player option for next season that he’s certainly going to opt into, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports.
So how loyal is Haslem? He agreed to a five-year, $20 million deal in 2010 when he was offered much more money to sign with the Dallas Mavericks or Denver Nuggets. Those potential deals could have reached upwards of $35 million. Haslem sacrificed so the team he holds so near and dear to his heart could have the financial flexibility to sign “The Big Three.”
Rumors continue to circulate over the possibility of Miami pursuing All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony this offseason. To make such a thing come to fruition, management would need Haslem to opt out and take less money for more years.
As Jackson points out, even if signing Anthony is an unobtainable goal, the team may ask Haslem to take the aforementioned pay cut in order to help with their luxury tax burden.
Haslem averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 46 games for the Heat during the regular season. His 14.2 minutes were the lowest of his career. He’s currently putting up 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds during the Heat’s postseason run.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra could start Haslem in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night.
“If I was an inch or two more, I would be making $2 million more,” Haslem said on Thursday. “But if I’m not the size I am, maybe I’d be lazy and not have the work ethic I have.”