The Heat love Udonis Haslem and Udonis Haslem loves the Heat.
At 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the official start of free agency, the Heat showed Haslem how much they love him by hanging four large banners on the gates outside his home.
The first banner reads: “The Hardest Working Best Conditioned Most Professional Unselfish Toughest Meanest Nastiest Player In Heat History — Haslem.”
The second banner is a photo of Haslem bleeding from the corner of his right eye.
The third banner reads: “Most Rebounds in Heat History — Haslem.”
The fourth banner has the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy on it, showing how Haslem is a three-time champion.
The love was reciprocated by Haslem, who appreciated the new decorations in front of his home.
“How you supposed to pull up to your crib the first day of free agency? When you are a Heat Lifer, got 3 rings, you did work out here over the past 14 years, your city and your organization love you,” Haslem wrote on the caption of the Instagram photo. “[Shout out to the] Miami Heat and all of Heat Nation.”
Haslem is an unrestricted free agent this summer, but he’s expected to re-sign with the Heat on the NBA veteran minimum contract worth about $2.3 million once the roster is filled out later in free agency. The 37-year-old is preparing for his 15th NBA season, with the first 14 seasons all coming with Miami.
Haslem was one of the players present for the Heat’s free-agent presentation to Gordon Hayward on Saturday.
“We have 15 roster spots and I hope that Udonis fills one of them without a doubt,” Heat president Pat Riley said in April. “He’s invaluable in so many aspects on the court, off the court, in the locker room, with the players. He’s made a commitment to work with two or three of our guys already. As a matter of fact, when I walked in here, there were like six guys in the weight room instead of going home or on some vacation.
“So when that time comes, we’ll talk with Udonis. But I would like to see him on the team. But I also want to see him on the team as a player. He’s just not going to take up a spot. He’s going to have to come in and earn his position, not just because he’s the grandfather of the team. He helps so much from that standpoint. Mr. Miami is in our hearts and so we’ll let that sort of run its course as we build our team over the summer.”