MIAMI – Udonis Haslem is officially back with the Miami Heat.
Haslem signed another contract, the 10th of his career, with the Heat on Sunday, ensuring he will return for a 19th season with Miami. This is a one-year contract worth about $ 2.8 million.
The 41-year-old would become the fifth player to spend a full career of at least 19 years with a franchise. Dirk Nowitzki spent all 21 NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, Kobe Bryant spent 20 with the Los Angeles Lakers, Tim Duncan spent 19 with the San Antonio Spurs and John Stockton spent 19 with the Utah Jazz.
Haslem has a unique role for the Heat. He barely plays, with only five appearances in the last two seasons, and only one last season. But Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sees him as essential for a number of reasons, including the example he sets in practice for other players and how much the Miami native values the role of captain of his hometown team.
“Udonis Haslem agreed to come back and play the game he loves so much,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement announcing the signing. “What you love more than that is being on the court teaching and competing against the best in the world. YOU are a player with a legacy … ONE PLAYER, ONE CITY, ONE TEAM. Thank you, YOU, for leading again in your city, your organization and your team “.
Haslem was by far the oldest player to enter a game last season, nearly two and a half years older than Anderson Varejao. He is currently the 11th oldest player to appear in a game in NBA history and would move up to the seventh, passing Charles Jones, Stockton, Herb Williams and Bob Cousy, if he enters a game any time after November 8.
That would leave only Nat Hickey, Kevin Willis, Robert Parish, Vince Carter, Dikembe Mutombo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ahead of Haslem on the NBA’s oldest players list.
Haslem’s only appearance last season was memorable. He scored four points, rebounded, took a charge, received two technical fouls and was ejected against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 13, all in a span of 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
“If this is the last one, I finished it the only way Udonis Haslem could: with an expulsion,” Haslem said that night.
Haslem is one of only two players – Dwyane Wade is the other – to appear on Miami’s three NBA champion teams. Haslem is the only player to have been with the Heat in their six Eastern Conference championship runs. He leads the franchise’s all-time list in rebounding, is second in games and minutes played and seventh in scoring.