By David Dwork

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It looks like the heart and soul of the Miami Heat isn’t going to be changing his address any time soon.

Despite speculation that Heat captain Udonis Haslem could be leaving Miami to sign with another NBA team, it seems the 14-year veteran is staying put.

Thursday afternoon the Heat confirmed that Haslem would be re-signing with Miami.

The announcement came shortly after Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted “UD” and the party hat emoji, a post that appeared to carry significant meaning.

Arison’s tweets are protected so only those who he approves to follow him are able to view the post.

“It is a great, great, day to have Udonis Haslem sign a contract for his 15th season with the Miami Heat,” said Riley. “He isn’t just Mr. 305, he is a true patriarch of the team. Today we are proud to announce that he is back to lead the HEAT again.”

No player has been Miami’s captain longer than Haslem (10 years) and he enters the upcoming season needing to play in 25 games to set the Heat’s all-time franchise record for games played.

Haslem has spent his entire career with the Heat after going undrafted in 2003.

A major part of Miami’s three championship teams, Haslem has twice taken less money to stay with the Heat instead of signing a more lucrative contract elsewhere.

While his playing time has dropped, Haslem remains one of most important elements to the Heat’s chemistry on the practice court and in the locker room.

Last July Haslem signed a one-year deal with Miami worth $4 million, which was actually quite more than he was expected to receive.

This summer money is much tighter as the Heat have given big contracts to Dion Waiters, James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk while having already given sizable deals to Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson in recent years.

Miami is expected to be in a mix of teams competing for the Eastern Conference next season.

While Cleveland and Boston are generally viewed as the top two teams in the East, teams like Toronto, Milwaukee, Washington, Atlanta and Miami are easily considered to be contenders.

 

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