Udonis Haslem’s legendary career isn’t quite over after all. The Miami Heat lifer said on Sunday that he’ll play “one more year,” setting the stage for 2022-23 to be his final NBA season.
Udonis Haslem added that this will be his final season. “One more year,” he said.
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) August 21, 2022
Haslem, easily the oldest player in the NBA at 42, has spent the entirety of his 19-season NBA career with the Heat.
More locker room mentor and de facto assistant coach than contributing on-court player in recent years, Haslem appeared in 13 games last season, averaging 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He was last a regular part of Erik Spoelstra’s rotation in 2014-15, starting 25 games at power forward and garnering 16.0 minutes per contest.
Haslem joined the Heat in 2003 as a free agent after beginning his professional career in France, where he lost approximately 50 pounds compared to his playing days at the University of Florida. He went undrafted in 2002 despite earning All-SEC honors during each of his four seasons in Gainesville.
Haslem quickly established himself as a fixture with the Heat, emerging as a full-time starter by his second season. He won his first championship in 2007 alongside Finals MVP Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal, and hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy twice more in 2012 and 2013 playing with LeBron James and the “Heatles.”
Miami was the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last year despite a rash of injuries and absences during the regular season. The underdog Heat fell to the Boston Celtics in a hard-fought Eastern Conference Finals, their Game 7 comeback hopes dashed when Jimmy Butler’s go-ahead three-point attempt in the final seconds fell just short.
Expect Haslem to continue occupying his unique role with the Heat in 2022-23 before transitioning to a bench or front office position once his playing career is officially finished.