Udonis Haslem is the longest-tenured player with a single franchise in the NBA currently. The big man has been with the Miami Heat since 2003 and while he is no longer much of a contributor on the court, his impact is still very much felt within the locker room.
Bam Adebayo expressed how important Haslem's presence is for the team and while people from the outside may not truly appreciate him, it is clear that the Heat players and coaches value his presence big time. He definitely played a part behind the scenes in helping the Heat rally and win Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, but the bruised and battered Miami squad just didn't have it in them to get over the finish line. During his exit interview, Haslem was very non-committal on coming back for next season, stating that he hasn't recovered from the loss to the Celtics:
Haslem unsure if returning next season. "I will take my time and sit down the family, Pat, Micky and talk about what's next and where it goes. Now is time to take a mental break and figure it out."
There is no doubt that the loss would have stung Haslem even though he didn't play in the series. He still takes this very seriously, and it undoubtedly takes a lot of motivation and passion for the game to go out to practice every day at his advanced age. He is the oldest player in the league, and finding the motivation to keep going at that age is difficult.
The Heat undoubtedly would want him back as they look to go one step further next season, after getting ever so close to their second NBA Finals appearance in the last three seasons. Going by his comments, however, it does seem like this might well be the end and if it is, then he can exit the stage with his head held high.