A three-time NBA champion, Udonis Haslem doesn’t figure much into the plans of the Miami Heat anymore. Despite his desire to stay with the team and see out his career where it began, it would be wise for the NBA champions to at least try and trade Haslem in the next week.
Haslem has become something of a fringe player for the Heat, featuring only 26 times this season, not getting off the bench seven times in the last 8 games. He’s playing only 12.5 minutes a night, averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds. At this point, his role seems to be more of a leadership one than actually contributing on the basketball court.
Haslem has been in Miami for his entire career, coming in with Dwyane Wade in 2003. He played for Florida in college and was born and raised in Miami. If there’s one player with a connection to the city, it’s him. But that’s not the only reason he wants to stay. His contract is pretty accommodating as well, making $4.3 million this season and he has a player option worth $4.6 million in the next one.
But for the Heat, who could use every bit of help on the court and especially from the bench, where things have been a bit inconsistent this season, keeping someone for this kind of money without getting anything from him is something they can’t afford – not for this season, in which they’re trying to catch up with the Indiana Pacers in the chase for the top spot in the East, and not for the next one, already being over the luxury tax without making any additions to next year’s roster.
Loyalty is great, but the main goal is success and winning championships, while also making the franchise financially profitable. Having Haslem eat up this much of the cap without doing anything doesn’t make much sense, and although it’s hard to see a team accepting a trade for him, the Heat need to try and get something in the coming week from him and maybe even Joel Anthony, another player who is no longer an actual part of the team.