Udonis Haslem plans to opt in for next season, but could take less to stay with Heat longer

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The reserve talks to the Miami Herald about his free agency plans this summer.

Udonis Haslem, Mr. 305 and the heart and soul of the Miami Heat for the past several years, doesn't plan on leaving the Miami Heat anytime soon and holds a $4.62 million player option for next season in his contract.

But will he opt in as many figured he will, or would he be willing to re-negotiate for a longer deal with the only NBA team he's played for in his pro career?

"It's something I would sit down and talk about with my family and Hank [agent Henry Thomas]," Haslem, who turned 34 on Monday, told the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, in addition to pointing out that he would love to spend several more seasons in Miami.

Should the Heat wish to acquire Carmelo Anthony or another major free agent this summer in addition to retaining the Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they would need Haslem to cooperate, similar to what they did when they briefly released James Jones in 2010 and then re-signed him for less per year. In that particular deal, Jones had a separate buyout agreement with the Heat in addition to signing a new 3-year deal.

Haslem has twice left money on the table in the past to resign with the Heat instead of pursuing deals with the Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and others.

As Jackson also mentions in his article, the Heat showed their loyalty to Haslem by reportedly refusing to deal him to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Evan Turner earlier this season.

"If I was an inch or two more, I would be making $2 million more," Haslem noted. "But if I'm not the size I am, maybe I'd be lazy and not have the work ethic I have."

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