Miami Heat: A pair of lifers should be the last additions

MIAMI, FL - MAY 7: Udonis Haslem. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 7: Udonis Haslem. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Will Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade return to the Miami Heat?

With what seems to be the most exciting part of free agency behind us, the Miami Heat find themselves in a less-than-ideal situation. The team is saddled with some big contracts that will be hard to move off their books.

After re-signing Wayne Ellington, the Heat are over the salary cap and will be stuck paying a luxury tax if they cannot make some moves before the end of the 2018-2019 season.

The Heat currently have 12 players on their roster for the upcoming season (not including Duncan Robinson, who was signed to a two-way contract). Despite their financial challenges, they will need to sign at least two more players by the end of the offseason.

If I may speak for the entire Miami Heat fanbase for a moment, there are two prime candidates for these roster spots (you may have heard of them before): Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem.

Of course, this is dependent upon whether or not these “Heat Lifers” decide to return to the NBA for the 2018-2019 season. If they do return, it will likely be in a reduced role as far as their minutes are concerned.

However, their impact isn’t limited to their action in games.

The Heat’s current roster has plenty of young players that are still molding their game. Guys like Bam Adebayo and Josh Richardson, who could greatly benefit from the leadership of Wade and Haslem.

The Miami Heat pride themselves on the culture of winning throughout their organization. Wade and Haslem are pillars of that culture. They want to perpetuate that culture by grooming the next generation of Heat players.

Some fans will not be excited if the Heat bring Wade and Haslem back for another year. They would prefer it if president Pat Riley nudged those two guys towards retirement and potential jobs in the Heat’s front office.

To those fans I ask, “what’s the alternative?”

After hearing them out, I would follow up with, “would you really prefer that?”

Yes, there are big names still available in free agency. Guess how much big names costs? Big money. Money that the Heat don’t want to spend to assemble a team that still would not make it out of the East.

Signing Wade and Haslem achieves two things: it generates nostalgia by bringing back two of the most iconic players in franchise history, and makes it feasible for the Heat to avoid the luxury tax by the end of the season.

My entire argument could be rendered useless if both decide to hang it up and move on to the next chapters in their lives. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that they each have one more season in the tank.

A return will give the fans one last chance to show them the love and appreciation they deserve for everything they have done for this organization (just like AllUCanHeat‘s very own Brandon Johnson explains here).

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It’s time for this duo of Miami Heat lifers to get their contracts taken care of.