Yesterday was exit interview media day for Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and some players. Before Miami can think about bigger changes — like trading the onerous contracts belonging to Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson — the Heat have three veterans who have big decisions to make.
For Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, it’s whether to play one more year or retire. For Wayne Ellington, it’s whether a career year has forced him out of Miami’s price range?
Haslem spoke to the media on Friday, but Wade did not. Haslem said that he will base his decision on his family. The following is an excerpt from a story by the Palm Beach Post’s Anthony Chiang.
“The number one factor for me [is family], same thing with Dwyane,” Haslem said. “… My son is at the university of Toledo playing football. I missed a lot of that. I’ve got two other young ones coming through the pipeline playing baseball. My youngest plays pretty much everything. You find yourself appreciating those moments more and more as your career starts going. When you are young, basketball is number one above all. Toward the middle of your career, basketball may take a little dip and get second. Doesn’t mean it’s not important or not your focus. When you get to this age, basketball is like third or fourth. So many things that are just more important in life than the game of basketball.”
The Miami native said that he and Wade would like to retire together, but “things don’t always work out like that.” He said he would love to remain with this organization. With these statements, did Haslem hint that he will decide to retire and join Miami’s front office — similar to how Alonzo Mourning and Shane Battier have done? Former Heat players Juwan Howard and Chris Quinn are assistant coaches, but Haslem may not want to spend that much time away from his family for another year. We’ll soon find out.
As for Wade, his wife Gabrielle Union tweeted after Miami’s Game 5 loss that she hopes it isn’t the end.
Ellington, 30, made 227 3-pointers last year and set the record for made 3s as a reserve. But Ellington will be a free agent this summer and is sure to find a number of suitors who could use his shooting in today’s NBA. If you don’t know how much NBA teams value shooting, consider that J.J. Redick is making $23 million this year. And Miami is limited in its ability to offer Ellington a big contract after signing James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk to four-year deals last year.
But Pat Riley managed to find a team willing to trade for Josh McRoberts to allow Miami to re-sign Ellington a year ago. And Spoelstra hinted that Riley may be able to do the same this summer.
Spoelstra says goal is to bring Ellington back, and hints that Riley and staff can work their cap magic, "Wayne knows we love him."— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) April 27, 2018