(CBSMiami)- One of the mainstays and biggest architects of the Heat culture for the last nearly two decades will return for the 2020-21 season. Forward Udonis Haslem announced his intention to return to the team for his 18th season at a news conference on Friday.
The 40-year-old Haslem doesn’t play regularly, he appeared in just four games last season, but he’s seen as an impactful force in the team’s locker room which is why head coach Erik Spoelstra wanted him to come back.
“He’s just an incredible rock of stability and leadership and mentorship,” Spoelstra said during the NBA Finals last month. “That’s at all levels. It’s not just to our young players. It’s to our veteran players. And he provides just great guidance and mentorship to this head coach as well. I love him.”
Only five players in NBA history have played at least 18 seasons with one team. Dirk Nowitzki (21 years Dallas), Kobe Bryant (20 years L.A.), Tim Duncan (19 years San Antonio), John Stockton (19 years Utah) and Reggie Miller (18 years Indiana). With that in mind, will this upcoming season be Haslem’s last? He played it coy at the press conference.
“Spo told me don’t answer that question,” Haslem said. “Spo said we’ll continue to talk about it.”
Haslem is the Heat’s all-time leading rebounder, ranks second in team history behind Dwyane Wade in games and minutes played and is seventh on the franchise’s scoring list.