Starting with the obvious big news of the day, Udonis Haslem joined his partner Dwyane Wade and taken less money to stay with the Heat. Actually, Udonis took a lot less. Over 30% less. The deal he is signing with the Heat is for 5-years and will be worth around $20 million. That pales in comparison to the $34-35 mil he could have gotten elsewhere.
This isn't the first time that Udonis took less money to stay in Miami. The last time he was a free agent back in 2005 Haslem re-signed with the Heat, turning down less money then he was offered by Memphis. This move fits right in with the other signings by Pat Riley this offseason, and its crazy to think that U-D is the 4th best player to take less money to sign with the Heat.
I also expect Haslem to retain his captain role on the team. He and D-Wade have been running this team for years and that should not change. Even LeBron James showed Udonis some love on Twitter earlier, saying "Happy UD is staying put in Miami. Wouldn't have felt right if he wasn't apart of this. Congrats fam". I'm glad that respect is already there for the elder Haslem, whose roots run deep with this franchise.
Udonis wasn't the only player to commit to the Heat today. Haslem's good friend and former college teammate Mike Miller decided to join the Heat, and that was the final straw for U-D. The two are very close, and Udonis had this to say about his soon to be teammate:
"That's my boy from day one. That's my college roommate. He's like Dwyane is to me, just a different color."
According to his agent, Miller's decision rested on where LeBron ended up. When James picked the Heat, so did Miller. Stats-wise, here is how Miller shaped up in 54 games with the Wizards last season. He averaged 10.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 33 minutes, hitting 50% from the field, 48% from beyond the arc and 82% from the foul line. Sounds like just the guy the Heat need, and I'm willing to bet he's going to get more open looks in Miami then ever before in his career.
The Miller deal should be finalized on Tuesday because the trade between Miami and Minnesota for Michael Beasley was finally processed by the NBA. Miami will get 2nd round picks in 2011 and 2014 in exchange for the former 2nd overall pick. Another former Heat player moving on is Quentin Richardson, who is reportedly signing with the Orlando Magic.
That move will most likely mean that J.J. Reddick is going to end up in Chicago, as the Magic probably aren't going to be matching their 3-year $19 million offer. Orlando has until Friday to make that decision, but they are already over the luxury tax for next season.
The Heat's roster is very quickly starting to take shape, and the remaining open spots are being coveted by older players looking to win a title. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Jerry Stackhouse, Raja Bell and Juwan Howard all are interested in joining the Heat at a discount, and there is also incumbent Heat big guys Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire.
Also factoring in the decision will be the Summer League guys. Dexter Pittman and Jarvis Varnado have a chance of joining the squad, as do guards Pat Beverly, Kenny Hasbrouck and Jon Scheyer.
Finally, it seems that the Heat's big signings weren't as big of an issue during Monday's owners meetings as many people thought. Instead, commissioner David Stern told the media that there is nothing for Heat fans to worry about. Said Stern:
"There is nothing here, at this time, that is causing us to launch an investigation. The three players are totally, as our system has evolved, within their rights to talk to each other. That is not tampering or collusion that is prohibited. That's our rule, right now."
Stern even credited Miami, saying:
"Miami did a pretty good job of clearing out cap space and putting together a plan."
And just to put a cap on things, Stern fined Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert $100,000 for his e-mail rant that immediately followed LeBron James' decision to ‘take his talents to South Beach' last Thursday night. I like the amount of the fine, because it makes you look twice. 6 figures is a pretty hefty amount, but I think the long-term repercussions will be much worse for the Cavs.
What free agent in their right mind is going to want to go to a LeBron-less Cavaliers team knowing full well what their owner is capable of? I completely understand the anger, frustration and pain that he and the rest of Ohio must have felt when James chose to leave, but this was not the way to react.