2018 Miami Heat Offseason Preview: Will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem return for a 16th NBA season or retire?

Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) and Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem (40) bump fists after Wade was fouled by Indiana Pacers power forward Tyler Hansbrough (50) at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, FL. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

The NBA starts a new fiscal year at 12 a.m. Sunday, which also signals the start of free agency and what once again will be a busy offseason. The Miami Heat may not be as big a player as usual this offseason because of roster and payroll limitations, but president Pat Riley still will be busy trying to find a way to upgrade his roster, however difficult that may be.

This week we take a look at the biggest offseason questions surrounding the Heat. Today’s question: What will Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem decide to do this summer — retire or return for a 16th NBA season? We’ll shift to a different question each day leading up to the start of free agency.

[RELATED: Photos of the incredible style at the 2018 NBA Draft]

[Monday’s question: LeBron James could be on the move again, do the Heat have a chance of bringing him back?]
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MIAMI — The Heat are capped out and up against the luxury tax this offseason, but they will carve out just enough money to bring back Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem … if the two franchise icons choose to continue their playing careers.

The 36-year-old Wade and 38-year-old Haslem are still deciding if they will return for a 16th NBA season. Both admitted publicly they will consider retirement this offseason.

Wade is still playing consistent minutes late in his career, as he averaged 22.3 minutes in a bench role in 21 regular-season games with the Heat. But Haslem hasn’t had a consistent playing role for the past three seasons and logged just 72 minutes in 14 games this past season.

Wade even looked like the Heat’s best player at times in the playoffs, averaging 16.6 points on 44.3 percent shooting in five first-round games. Meanwhile, Haslem has taken more of a leadership role as a team captain who has won three NBA championships in Miami.

But Haslem is hoping for more playing time if he chooses to return this upcoming season.

“Every time I talk to the guys, they want me to come back, they want to know,” Haslem said on June 14. “I don’t know. I’m just chilling, having fun. I’ve got a lot of energy. It ain’t always getting exerted on the court, so I got to figure out somewhere to put it. I still got game left in me. I might just go play in China or Europe or something. I’ve got some game left and I ain’t really trying to waste it too much more. So I’m going to figure it out.”

As for Wade, he’s repeatedly made it known that he wants to play for the Heat if he continues his playing career.

“At this point for me, man, I’m sitting here and I’m thinking and contemplating on playing the game of basketball,” Wade said during a June 10 appearance on Fox Sports Radio’s show featuring Chris Mannix and Caron Butler. “My only vision as I sit here today is in a Miami Heat uniform.”

With the Heat currently committed to about $119 million in salaries for this upcoming season, they are way above the projected $101 million salary cap and very close to the projected $123 million luxury tax line.

How can Miami make room for Wade and Haslem? Since the Heat can’t sign them into cap space, they can turn to contract exceptions that can be used even when a team is over the cap.

Re-signing Wade could require the Heat’s exception money — likely the $5.4 million taxpayer mid-level exception — and re-signing Haslem will likely require a $2.4 million minimum-salary contract. Even these two deals would push Miami into the luxury tax, so some some salary-cap maneuvering would still be required to get back under the threshold.

Despite the financial challenges, the Heat want Wade and Haslem back. The organization is just waiting to hear if they want to be back.

“Both Udonis and Dwyane are, they’ve been together forever and they also deserve the respect to sit and wait on this thing,” Heat president Pat Riley said last week. “And so there’s no rush.”

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