Udonis Haslem has made his decision clear, and it’s to retire at the end of this season.
As widely expected, Haslem, 38, said in a recent interview with Basketball Insiders that he will end his career alongside close friend Dwyane Wade. Both players are in their 16th NBA season, and plan to retire when it’s over.
“I’m gonna call it done too. There’s nothing else left for me to do on the basketball court,” Haslem said to Basketball Insiders. “My kids are getting older, my son is playing college football at the University of Toledo, my 11-year-old is playing travel baseball and I never see him as he’s always out of town. My eight-year-old is playing travel basketball. There’s so many other things for me to be engaged in right now.”
The Miami High grad, who started his NBA career in 2003 as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, has spent each of his 16 NBA seasons with the Heat. The power forward has been part of all three NBA championship teams in franchise history.
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Haslem is the Heat’s all-time leader in rebounds (5,716). He is the first undrafted player in NBA history to be a team’s all-time leading rebounder.
“That’s been the conversation and that’s what we shoot for. That’s what the goal is, that’s what we’ve been aiming for,” Haslem said at the start of the season when asked about retiring with Wade. “Just the fact that we said we would do that so long ago, 16 years later we actually have the opportunity, we have the power to control that decision. That’s pretty cool.”
Haslem, who signed a veteran’s minimum deal worth $2.4 million to return to the Heat this year, has played in just three games this season. He’s averaged 1.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 4.8 minutes in his limited on-court role.
As a team captain, Haslem has been used in more of a leadership role in recent years. He’s logged just 216 minutes of playing time in 33 regular-season games since the start of the 2016-17 season.
Haslem has averaged 7.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in 847 regular-season games during his NBA career.
“I think year-to-year,” Haslem said when asked about retirement at the start of the season. “I had that conversation with Dwyane a couple years ago. The conversation was just after the season, see how your body feels and see how you feel mentally. Then you take it from there. But I don’t have any commitments past this year. We’ll see how the summer goes and how I feel.”