Miami Heat: Udonis Haslem is back for another year, now what?

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 09: Dewan Huell of the Miami Hurricanes defends Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat during NBA Off-season training with Remy Workouts on August 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 09: Dewan Huell of the Miami Hurricanes defends Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat during NBA Off-season training with Remy Workouts on August 8, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat have re-signed franchise fixture Udonis Haslem.

Just a few months ago, there was a legitimate concern that Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem might not play another season in the NBA.

Although the 38-year-old had given the last 15 years of his life to the city of Miami, he stood unsure of whether to etch another tally mark onto his legacy.

Knowing his playing days are creeping to a close, Haslem contested over the summer that he had some game left in him, and considered using the last of his legs overseas, where playing time would be more of a guarantee.

"“I’m just trying to have fun,” Haslem told in June. “I’ve got a lot of energy. It ain’t always getting exerted on the court. So I’ve got to figure out somewhere to put it. I’ve got game left in me. I might just go play in China or Europe or something. I’ve got some game left. I ain’t really trying to waste it too much more. So, we’ll figure it out.”"

If play time was a priority, he was certainly pointed in the right direction.

In the last two seasons in Miami, Haslem has played 16 and 14 games, usually resigned to garbage time and saving Miami’s rotation players from foul trouble.

Playing in Europe or Asia would certainly see Haslem’s on court incorporation, as benches run a bit shorter and age is less of an impediment than in the NBA.

But as so many Americans return to their school and work routines, Haslem too returns to what he knows best.

According to the Associated Press, Haslem and the Miami Heat have agreed to a one-year, $2.4 million deal for his 16th season.

The deal, which clocks in at the league’s designated veteran minimum for players with 10-plus years of experience, is just enough to give the Heat one final run with its longest tenured player.

In the wake of unfulfilled retirement send-offs from the likes Ray Allen in 2014 or Mike Miller in 2017, the Heat will have the chance to honor Haslem at least once before the 2018-19 campaign comes to a close.

With training camp and preseason looming, Haslem’s return sends the bat-signal out to another Heat faithful: Dwyane Wade.

Wade and Haslem are the only player duo to share all three of Miami’s NBA championships. Their brotherhood spans the length of their NBA careers, both of which started in the 2003 season.

"“We’re brothers away from the game of basketball,” Wade recalled while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers. “He was one of the first men that I told I love him. He’s one of the first men I told him I love him, because I do, I definitely do. He’s a brother.”"

Haslem’s return, as the 19th player on Miami’s training camp roster, paves the way for Wade’s similar return. The Heat have regularly confirmed that its two final training camp spots were reserved for Haslem and Wade.

But until Wade decides on his future, Haslem is Miami’s de facto veteran presence.

Where does Miami go from here?

Now that Haslem’s in tow, Miami is simultaneously providing hope that Wade returns, while dashing the dreams of the team’s training camp hopefuls.

Rosters in the NBA are generally capped at 13 active players and a minimum of two inactive players. Entering the 2018-19 season, Miami has 12 players signed to NBA-level deals, and two more affixed to two-way contracts.

Assuming Haslem doesn’t renege on his agreement, he will be Miami’s 13th player on the roster.

And, judging by his career’s precedence, Haslem will be listed as active for every contest, further limiting Miami’s unsigned members chances at making the full-time roster.

The Heat still have the luxury of moving players around throughout the season, especially in the case of injury. But with Haslem guaranteed a spot and Wade assured one too, the Heat are saddled with a roster high in familiarity, and likely to continue to rely on the G-League to develop its prospects.

Barring Wade’s contract discussions, the only unknown that emerges from Haslem’s contract is exactly how often head coach Erik Spoesltra will play him.

Haslem’s current playing trend makes sense. As a Heat veteran, he is generally move valued as a captain and leader than for his box score contributions on a nightly basis.

Still, Haslem’s trademarked toughness and fortitude of mind keeps him able to pick up the pace as needed, battling against players who were in kindergarten when his career began.

Having likely turned down more money and playing time overseas, and with the caveat of 2018-19 potentially being his last season, Haslem might see a shade more floor time, if only as a final salute to one of Miami’s career generals.

Regardless, seeing Haslem return is a total win for the Miami Heat as a whole.

Next. Miami Heat 1-on-1: Is it still Dwyane Wade’s team?. dark

Now, all sights are set on bringing back Wade just the same.