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Udonis Haslem confirms he is returning to Heat for 20th season

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Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem (40) listens to the national anthem before the start of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics at FTX Arena in Miami on May 29, 2022. (David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

David Santiago

Udonis Haslem is the embodiment of Heat culture.

Helping continue that — and honoring his father — will bring Udonis Haslem back for his 20th NBA season, he announced on Sunday.

This was not a surprise (something Ira Winderman and I discussed last week). Haslem would never leave the Heat hanging with his decision, he is too committed to the franchise. If he were not coming back he would have let the Heat know much earlier, so that could have filled his roster spot when there were more players on the market and Miami had more options.

Haslem’s reasons for returning are interesting. Reaching 20 seasons was very important to him and his father, Haslem said. Beyond that, Haslem understands his role is not on the court but as a cornerstone of Heat culture, and he takes that role very seriously.

Haslem added this would be his last year — but that doesn’t mean he wants to leave the organization. “After I finish this season, I want to continue to be a part of the organization at the highest level.”

And they will welcome him.