NBA Training camps are right around the corner and there is no team that is going to be in the spotlight more than the Miami Heat. And with good reason. After an incredible offseason that brought Chris Bosh and LeBron James to South beach to team up with Dwyane Wade, many people looked at the Heat as favorites in the NBA, including themselves. When the three players joined forces, they threw a party in celebration that looked like the entrance to a WWE event. Then after getting those three together, the Heat still found a way to bring in guys like Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Mike Miller and retain Udonis Haslem.
There is no question that the Heat are loaded this year and on paper they look like the best team in the Eastern Conference. The heat wear the bullseye this season, but it’s the Celtics who still wear the crown for now in the Eastern Conference.
Udonis Haslem joined WQAM in Miami on the Joe Rose Show to talk about whether or not he was thinking about leaving the Heat in the offseason, whether he knew LeBron was thinking of going to Miami, how much it bothers him that some of the players are getting criticized nationally for their decision to team up, what it is going to be like to have training camp on an Air Force base, and what he expects his role to be this season in Miami.
On whether he thought about joining another team this offseason:
“Yeah. Obviously it was a situation where a lot of guys had to come together and make a sacrifice for me to be a part of this. At first it was looking like I would have just a one-year deal with a minimum salary and at the end of the day I didn’t think I could be set up like that. It all worked out. Dwyane is like a brother to me, LeBron respects what I do and I have the ultimate respect for what he does, and also Chris, they all came together and made a sacrifice. Even though it wasn’t as much as I would’ve gotten somewhere else, my heart is here in Miami and I really believe in this team and organization. Just to go somewhere for the money is never the type of person I’ve been.”
On whether or not he thought the three players would all get together in Miami:
“I’m thinking maybe one. At the most possibly two. Two would be stretching it, but never would I have thought three. We’re just fortunate it worked out that way.”
On the national criticism that the Heat are getting:
“It’s unfortunate because in today’s society athletes get criticized for being so selfish and wanting all the money and going to a bad team just to take more money and things like that. Here you have the exact opposite where you have guys sacrifice money to go to a good team and put something together where they can win multiple championships for years to come and people still complain. For me I guess you just can’t make people happy so you have to make yourself happy.”
On when he found out about training camp at an Air Force base:
“I found out a day or two before it came out publicly. To me it’s gonna be an experience and I’ve never had an opportunity to be on an Air Force base. That will be a good experience for me and I think it’s the right move. Even though we have so much talent we’re not just gonna walk out on the floor and win. That’s what people think and that’s the perception that people have, but we have ground to make up with Boston, Orlando, the Lakers, and teams like that.”
On his role with the team this year:
“No, we haven’t discussed that, but to be honest with you coming off the bench is not an issue for me. I was really successful coming off the bench last year. Depending on how the game is going and who’s playing well there can be a number of different lineups. We have the flexibility to do different things.”