Whatever happens next in the 2014 NBA finals, the Miami Heat have some big decisions coming up in offseason and waiting for some to be made by their current players. They’d love to have Ray Allen on for another year at least but he might actually retire when this season ends. They’re also hoping Udonis Haslem chooses to retire, but he might prefer triggering his player option, making the kind of money he knows no one else will give him.
In fact, I’m not sure how many teams would give Haslem another deal. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds this season, playing 14.2 minutes a night. He isn’t healthy all the time at the age of 34 and his value as a leader might be specific to Miami, the city he grew up in and the only team he has ever played for after spending his college basketball experience not too far from home, playing for the Florida Gators.
Haslem has a player option worth $4.6 million for next season. The Miami Heat, not too keen on paying a lot of tax and actually looking to downsize on their cap hit while trying to keep their big three core together yet not giving up on adding pieces to keep them championship contenders don’t want to pay Haslem that kind of money knowing that they need every bit of cap space available, even if the James-Bosh-Wade trio agrees on taking a pay cut.
Haslem himself might eventually opt out of his deal but remain with the team, as the Heat will surely ask him to take less money, hoping he finds it in his heart to show solidarity and remain on a team that is among the best in the NBA, even if it means retiring with a little less money. For someone who has never been among the highest paid players in the league and has already taken a pay cut once to remain on the team, that might not be the easiest of decisions.
Ray Allen hits free agency after his two year deal with the team once the Finals are over. He’ll have plenty of teams after him if he decides not to stay with the Heat. He already took less money for joining them over the Celtics in 2012, so taking another reduction doesn’t seem to be something that bothers him. The Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks should be among the teams that try and go after him.
However, Allen has clearly declined this season and is struggling remaining consistent, even with his outside shooting. He is averaging 9.5 points per game in the playoffs which means he can clearly still be of great help to anyone who signs him and uses him correctly, but his defense hardly exists anymore, which is also something worth considering. Allen himself isn’t sure he wants to make another run after a ring and might eventually retire. He’ll be turning 39 in July and maybe after 18 seasons in the league, it’ll be time to close the door on a hall of fame career.