The Miami Heat’s pursuit of James Harden ultimately fell through, and their most respected veteran actually sounds pretty pleased that it did.
Appearing this week on “The Complex Sports Podcast,” Heat big man Udonis Haslem indicated that he did not want Harden on the Heat.
“I knew we wasn’t gonna get him,” said Haslem. “I mean, you can’t bring James Harden to Miami. As much as I wanted that to work out, in my mind, I was like, ‘Ain’t no way.’
“I would’ve aged 15 years trying to be his O.G.,” the 40-year-old Haslem continued. “He would’ve had to move me into the guest house.”
Harden, who ended up being traded to the Brooklyn Nets, is a former MVP winner and one of the marquee players in the NBA today. But he also comes with major concerns about his off-the-court antics as well as his work ethic.
The Heat pride themselves on their culture based around hard work and accountability. Haslem has been a bedrock of that culture for the last 18 seasons. Thus, his concerns about Harden’s fit in Miami are hardly a shock.
Udonis Haslem is saying “miss me with that” to anyone not giving the Miami Heat their proper due for the past season.
The Heat captain reacted Tuesday to the notion of some people dismissing the team’s run to the NBA Finals as a bubble environment-related fluke.
“Some people?” he said, per Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. “Was it some of the people that we probably beat? Get their a– out of here. That’s why we beat them.
“We don’t listen to people who throw rocks and hide their hands,” Haslem went on. “You know what that means? Throw rocks and hide your hands? That means you said something and you act like you ain’t say it. Who said it? Tell us who said it? If you don’t tell us who said it, then we don’t care.”
The Heat surprised many with their underdog Finals berth, toppling the NBA-best Milwaukee Bucks in the second round and knocking out the also-favored Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. While they did fall in the Finals, they still took two games off the titanic Los Angeles Lakers despite missing Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic for much of the series.
The 40-year-old Haslem, who just re-signed for his 18th career season with the team, played a key leadership role during that Finals run. As such, he does not take any disrespect for what they accomplished lightly.
Udonis Haslem tried to fire up his teammates during Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.
Haslem’s Miami Heat were trailing the Los Angeles Lakers 92-79 with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. They had just scored four points in a row, and the Lakers called a timeout.
During the timeout, Haslem gave an impassioned speech.
According to reporters in attendance for the game, Haslem’s message contained multiple profanities.
Haslem, 40, is mostly on the roster to provide leadership for the Heat. He only saw action in four regular season games and has not appeared in a postseason game this year. But he helps keep the team focused, like the way he instituted a bubble rule for Miami.
The Heat still lost the game 124-114 and trail 2-0 in the series.
The NBA bubble hasn’t been a dream for some players in it, but don’t expect to hear any complaints coming out of the Miami Heat camp.
Veteran forward Udonis Haslem said the team has a “no-complain” rule in the knowledge that time is of the essence and everyone else has to deal with the same challenges as well.
This is probably smart. Some players have gotten bogged down in complaints about the bubble conditions. More recently, though, there has actually been something of a backlash against those complaints as players accept the circumstances.
The Heat sit at 41-24 and are on their way to the playoffs. Still, Haslem is right, and they have to get up to speed quickly if they want to be successful when it really matters.
Udonis Haslem spent many seasons playing alongside LeBron James, but he has another player in mind as the greatest of all-time.
Speaking this week on ESPN’s “Now or Never,” the Miami Heat big was asked about “The Last Dance” docuseries and called Michael Jordan “the greatest.”
“Oh man, MJ’s the greatest,” said Haslem. “You think about everything that he’s done, and I thought I saw it firsthand, and I thought I remember every moment, and I thought I remember being in that situation, and then when you see it again, it just lets you know. He’s the greatest.”
Haslem previously referred to Jordan more specifically as “the greatest of all-time” in an Instagram Live chat with Richard Jefferson earlier this month.
The 39-year-old Haslem, one of the oldest active NBA players, was teammates with James for The King’s four seasons in Miami from 2010 to 2014. Haslem and James won four Eastern Conference titles and two championships together, even starting next to each other during many a playoff battle.
“The Last Dance” has reignited, among other things, the debate over who is the greatest NBA player of all-time. Recently, another one-time Heat player weighed in on the subject, actually going in the opposite direction.
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.”
Haslem, who is the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder and has spent his entire NBA career with them since signing on as an undrafted free agent way back in 2003, has played in all of three games this season for a total of 21 minutes. But he has been a mainstay at the end of Miami’s bench for many years now as a veteran guru and de facto assistant.
Though he will turn 40 this summer, Haslem has some good reasons for why he continues to play, so one more season sounds like a very real possibility.
Udonis Haslem turned 39 in June and has seen his role decrease in recent years, but that has not discouraged him from returning for another season.
On Tuesday, Haslem took to Instagram to reveal that he will be playing a 17th NBA season.
Haslem has spent his entire career with the Heat, and he recently gave a great reason for why he doesn’t feel he needs to retire. The big man appeared in just 10 games last season and averaged 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds, but the Heat value him as a veteran leader. Even if he doesn’t have much to offer on the court anymore, Pat Riley clearly feels Haslem has importance on the team.
Udonis Haslem has played a very small role for the Miami Heat over the last several years, and it would be unrealistic to think that will change if he decides to return for a 17th season. But even at age 39, Haslem remains as confident as ever.
In a lengthy Instagram rant on Monday morning, Haslem spoke about how he has been doubted his whole life and is not surprised people think he should retire. While he wouldn’t say for sure if he plans to play next season, he is not ruling it out. One of the reasons for that is he believes he can “sleepwalk into a double double.”
“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. 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!!,” Haslem wrote.
Haslem appeared in just 10 games last season and averaged 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds. He’s never averaged a double-double in his career, and he has not averaged double-digit points since the 2008-09 season.
While he has given consideration to signing with other teams in the past, Haslem has been with the Heat since he was a rookie in 2003. They may bring him back on a veteran minimum deal just to play a leadership role, but he doesn’t have much more to offer on the court.
It’s always sad watching once-great athletes enter the twilight of their careers. For sports fans, it feels like we’re losing a piece of ourselves. Father Time doesn’t discriminate, and though some athletes push the envelope into their 40s, we all sadly have a shelf life.
In the past two years, fans have seen notable figures like Tim Duncan, Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce retire. Here are 10 well-known players who may follow in their footsteps in the next year.
10. Vince Carter
I sat down with V.C. on draft day to discuss his future, and at the time it was uncertain. He was waiting for LeBron to announce his decision so the rest of the league could react and adjust their free-agency plans accordingly. Once LJ finally did so, the Hawks scooped Carter, signing him to a one-year deal. Atlanta wanted “Carter around its young locker room,” per Woj. The 41-year-old will receive $2.4 million for the season — keep getting them checks! Carter is no longer the Vinsanity we all knew and loved, but he’s had a heck of a career, and he’s still a valuable piece. Last season, with Sacramento, he played in 58 games, averaging 17.7 minutes, 5.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. The former No. 5 overall pick (1998, Golden State Warriors) has now played for eight teams.
Udonis Haslem has been with one NBA team throughout his entire 15-year NBA career, and it does not sound like that will be changing next season.
Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press reported on Wednesday that Haslem and the Heat have had encouraging contract discussions this week and ultimately expect to work out a contract for the 2018-19 season.
Haslem has a very limited role with the Heat, as he played a career-low 5.1 minutes per game last season and averaged just 0.6 points. He’s more of a veteran leader at this point, which can be just as valuable for a team — especially in the postseason. Like his more accomplished veteran teammate, it seems like Haslem will either play for the Heat next season or call it a career.