Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem will be saying farewell to the NBA after a 20-year run, and he’s had quite the career, winning three championship titles with the team.
On “The Pivot” podcast, Haslem revealed there was a time when he was certain his fate would be sealed when the “Big Three” was announced. He had been with the Heat since 2003, and in 2010, he was a free agent and realized the trio’s value could jeopardize his spot on the team.
However, the “Big Three,” which consisted of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, negotiated their salaries to keep him on the team.
According to NBC Sports, James and Bosh’s six-year contract was valued at $110.1 million, and Wade’s was $107 million.
“I’m out of here, because I know how the numbers worked, I know how the money worked. I know what those guys’ values was, I know they worth at the time. And I’m thinking, ‘Okay, it’s time to move on,’” Haslem explained.
Haslem adds he made his way to the 2010 Summer Heat Welcome Party at the American Airlines Arena to give his thanks to Pat Riley, Heat president, for providing him an opportunity when others failed to.
Before heading into the arena, Haslem received hopeful news from his agent of a deal valued at roughly $35 million. However, the Heat could not honor that amount, and the NBA player says he was presented with $20 million, thanks to the joint effort of James, Wade, and Bosh, who agreed to pay cuts.
Haslem knew from that moment on, their lost earnings would not be in vain.
He was right. He won two NBA championships alongside the trio.
“But the fact that Bron, CB, and D-Wade all collabed to take less money to make that $20 [million] available for me, it said enough, because they didn’t have to do that,” Haslem explained.
“Dwyane understood. Bron and CB don’t know me from a can of paint. They ain’t ever played with me, they don’t know nothing about me,” he continued. “But the fact that they was able to say, ‘Okay, cool. We need him. We need him to win.’ That let me know I got to get them boys they money worth.”