Udonis Haslem Re-Signs with Miami Heat
Udonis Haslem is staying with the Miami Heat.
Haslem signed a five-year, $20 million contract on Monday, roughly $13 million less than he could have received if he accepted more lucrative offers elsewhere.
Haslem had been heavily pursued in recent days. The Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks each reportedly offered him a five-year, $33 million mid-level exception contract over the weekend, and the New Jersey Nets offered three years and $20 million last week. He also received interest from the Utah Jazz, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks. But every team that showed interest in him did so with pessimism that he could be lured away from Miami.
A week ago, Haslem expected he would sign elsewhere, but then the combination of a $58.044 million salary cap ($2 million more than expected) and the decisions by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh to take less money made it possible for him to stay where he wanted.
The salary cap maneuvering which allowed for the possibility was orchestrated by Wade, when he approached Bosh and James to suggest they all take less money, specifically to re-sign Haslem.
The three had already agreed to reduce their starting salaries by $3.5 million to accommodate the contract of Mike Miller. They split the discount evenly, with each player reducing his starting salary by around $1.2 million, which equated to a $9 million sacrifice per player over the course of their six year deals.
Wade requested that they reduce their starting salaries by another $3.0 million to accommodate the contract of Haslem. James and Bosh obliged, with Wade taking a disproportionate share of that discount. Wade reduced his starting salary a further $1.2 million ($9 million over six years) to accommodate Haslem, while James and Bosh reduced their salaries a further $900K ($7 million over six years).
The sacrifices of Wade, James and Bosh enabled the Heat to create an extra $3.5 million of cap room, which the Heat then offered to Haslem as a full five-year contract with maximum allowable raises, totaling $20 million. Haslem then finished it off by agreeing to the deal with Miami that will pay him $13 million, or nearly 40%, less than he could have earned elsewhere.
“I would be changing my DNA if I left just for money,” he said.
Another factor for Haslem was Miller’s decision to join the Heat — something the team still hasn’t formally announced. Miller and Haslem are extremely close friends, both former Florida Gators as well.
It remains unclear as to Heat president Pat Riley asked Haslem to sacrifice even more over the past few days. Riley been pursuing Los Angels Lakers championship point guard Derek Fisher rather vigorously, reportedly telling him he envisioned Fisher as the Heat’s starting point guard and offering an undisclosed sum of money.
It is possible that Riley’s delay in signing Haslem was the result of him offering the last of the Heat’s $3.5 million of cap space to Fisher, which would have nothing more for Haslem than a $1.1 million minimum salary. The Heat could have made Haslem whole the next summer, by leveraging his Bird rights to offer him a higher-value, longer-term deal. Fisher opted to remain with the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers earlier today.
Haslem, 30, has spent all seven of his NBA seasons with the Heat, after going undrafted and spending his first professional season in France. He made $7.1 million last season.
Riley issued a statement in the wake of Haslem’s signing.
“Today,” Riley said, “is a great day for the future of the Miami Heat.
“He is the epitome of what the Heat is about. He is our anchor, he is a true warrior and a great professional.”