For many years, the Miami Heat essentially kept Udonis Haslem on the roster as a player-coach. Though, after he retired in July. It appears he has a new role with the franchise that he spent his entire NBA career with. The move was completed on Tuesday.
Haslem had spent 20 years with the Miami Heat as a player, where he won three NBA Championships. The last 16 of those, he had served as the team captain. In the last seven years, he hadn’t played more than 20 games. He’s one of two players to play for all three of the Heat’s NBA Title teams. Dwayne Wade being the other.
After retirement, Udonis Haslem had an interest in joining the front office or coaching staff in some capacity. In recent weeks he’s been spotted at some practices. So it seemed that sort of deal was inevitable. Once the Heat had announced the signing, Pat Riley had great things to say.
“Born and raised in Miami, UD has been an integral part of the success of the Heat for 20 years,” Riley said. “It’s great that he has chosen to continue to build on his incredible legacy here in Miami, where he belongs.”
There is no denying that Udonis Haslem has had a huge impact on the Heat. Despite his limited playing team, he has still served as a veteran leader in the clubhouse to younger players. That impact has never gone unseen and the Heat welcome it back. He’ll be able to add value to a team that has struggled early this season, but that has made the NBA Finals twice in the last four seasons.
The Heat have a track record of hiring previous players. This position is a perfect fit for Haslem, who had already embodied helping out the young players late in his career. It’s also a testament to how good the organization has become as a whole, so many great players, including LeBron James, have given the organization its flowers for its ability to stay competitive and relevant.
The hiring of Udonis Haslem will likely have an impact immediately.
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