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Heat’s Udonis Haslem opts out, becomes an unrestricted free agent

Jun 28, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

Udonis Haslem, LeBron James Udonis Haslem, LeBron James

The plan for the Miami Heat this summer was fairly simple going in: get everyone that can to opt out of their current contracts, in order to sign longer-term deals for more guaranteed money in total, which will pay the players less in the immediate future and create the salary cap space necessary to upgrade the roster.

LeBron James has already opted out, and Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are more than likely to do the same.

While questions are technically in place surrounding whether they’ll all return, Udonis Haslem opting out of his deal appears to be solely for the purpose of executing Pat Riley’s plan.

From Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

Udonis Haslem has opted out of his contract. As I’ve been reporting, Haslem — now that he’s opted out — is open to extension with Miami. Wants to be here. Wheels in motion. Haslem, Bosh, Wade all have same representation. So, yes, plans are in concert. Freeing up money for Riley to work.

And to be very clear, Haslem is doing this to benefit the Heat (and get a little security), not to leave the Heat.

Haslem had a player option for next season at $4.6 million — expect him to re-sign for up to four years for double that. He’s no longer a key rotation player for Miami, having appeared in just 46 regular season contests while averaging career lows in points (3.8), rebounds (3.8) and minutes (14.2). But he is seen as a reliable veteran locker room presence, and can come in handy at times.

For those reasons, along with his willingness to help the team financially, expect him to be rewarded with a new deal — but one that pays him less per season, and frees up some cap space for Miami to add some much-needed talent.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:19 PM

    What family member was threatened to get him to leave all that money on the table for absolutely no reason?

    • antistratfordian - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      No reason? 1) He wants to win and 2) he remembers what the Big 3 did for him back in 2010 when he was certain he was going to be forced to leave his home town.

      • jkirby317 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:26 AM

        Forced to leave his home town?

        To play a game.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        Yes, and his mother was in the middle of a cancer battle at the time and the idea of him having to leave Miami to work was just about the worst thing that could happen. But Wade talked with Bron and Bosh about UD and the three of them worked out a way where they would take less money specifically for Udonis.

      • jkirby317 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM

        he chose to stay in Miami for LESS money that what he was offered from UTAH in 2010.

        But forced? Eh. I don’t think so.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 5:54 PM

        “There’s no mention that as Haslem drove to the Heat offices last summer to shake hands with Pat Riley and say good-bye to the Heat staff on his way to Dallas or Denver, he also texted Dwyane Wade.

        ‘You’ll always be a brother to me,’ he typed.

        Once upon a time, what happened next would be the kind of story that would warm people’s hearts, draw fans closer, get repeated in any Haslem story this week and show once and for all just how much this team wants to win.

        Because what happened next as Haslem arrived at the Heat office was Wade got on the phone to James.

        ‘I asked if he’d take less [money] to sign U.D.,” Wade said.

        About $15 million less, to be exact.

        ‘He didn’t hesitate,” Wade said.

        James didn’t know Haslem well. Nor did Chris Bosh, who Wade called next. And perhaps Bosh’s sacrifice was bigger. He’s doesn’t fill a treasure chest in endorsements each year.

        ‘I said to go for it,” Bosh said. ‘That’s not a small amount of money.’

        Even with the Big Three’s donations, the Heat still had only $20 million to offer Haslem. This was Haslem’s big payday, too. He’s 31. He’s not a big scorer or a name on the marquee. He’s a plumber in NBA terms, the kind of guy who plays hard and fits into a system and helps the team win.

        ‘It took me maybe five minutes to decide,’ Haslem said.

        Five minutes to give up 40 percent of your pay?

        ‘Maybe two minutes,’ he said.

        [Udonis] phoned James, Bosh and Wade. He said they wouldn’t regret it. He said he’d play hard. He said a lot of things to them that afternoon that stayed with him after he injured his foot in November.

        ‘It was tough sitting there for so long, not knowing when I’d get back,” he said. ‘Part of it was just wanting to play and part of it was wanting to help and part of it was how much everyone had done in getting me here.'”

      • jkirby317 - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:02 PM

        you would know… you were face-timing with your Bro…

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 6:12 PM

        These guys are a fellowship of brothers. A fellowship of the rings. They will sacrifice for each other and sacrifice to stay together. Money is not as important as the people you value in your life. My bros have their priorities in order.

      • jkirby317 - Jun 29, 2014 at 7:57 PM

        Delusional.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 29, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        Their friendship makes you angry… why? They’re not the bad guys you want them to be?

  2. rajbais - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    He’s nuts. He can’t anything more than the veteran minimum.

  3. miamatt - Jun 28, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    The Miami Herald is reporting that Wade has informed the Heat he is opting out. If you are anything other than a troll or a very casual fan, that has been expected. If you still believe there is any chance that James is leaving town, you’re beyond the point of being educated. If you think it doesn’t matter and the Heat are finished contending for titles, well… it’s good to have dreams. We all need them.

    • jkirby317 - Jun 29, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Are you going to be ClevelandMatt? or ClippersMatt? or _______Matt? when :LeBron leaves?

  4. timmons94 - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Haha the 5 heat fans in existence showed up today…
    Big 3 lmao. Lebron is great. Bosh is average and d wade stinks… He be done… At least u have the marlins. Oh wait. The dolphins.. Oh wait.. The panthers.. Oh wait… The u… Lol oh wait… Miami is a horrible sports town and their 5 fans leave game 6 early. Of course a walk on a 3 pointer not called and the big 1 and 2 sissies would have 1… Miami.. What a joke u r …

  5. realfootballfan - Jun 28, 2014 at 7:13 PM

    Wade’s opt out is sacrificial and crazy, this one is just crazy. I know they probably have a front office job waiting for him when he retires like most Heat lifers, but I don’t know what, if at all he can get on the open market. Thus, he’ll be at the mercy of whatever the Heat want to give him at this point in his career.

  6. mnsadsportsfan - Jun 29, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    good luck dude you hardly play anymore

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