BOCA RATON (CBSMiami) – As Dwyane Wade is reportedly closing on a deal to join the Cleveland Cavaliers, his longtime former teammate and close friend Udonis Haslem weighed in.
Haslem, entering his fifteenth season with the Miami Heat, spent his first thirteen years on Miami’s roster with Wade. The duo won three championships together, experiencing the lows of 15-67 in 2008 and the amazing heights of the Big-Three Era. A ‘forever bond’ was forged.
Now, Haslem faces the reality of his close friend joining Miami’s arch-nemesis in Cleveland.
“Nothing changes with (our) relationship. He’s always going to be my brother,” Haslem said Monday at Heat training camp.
So, the personal bond will not be affected. But what about the competitive side of things?
Haslem began grinning when thinking about future on-court encounters with Wade and LeBron James.
“I’ll put my special request in to [Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra] for some minutes in that game. I’ve got six fouls,” Haslem deadpanned. “Probably three on each (Wade and James) and a flagrant for Dwyane.”
Haslem is seldom used on the court at this point. He functions primarily as a valuable veteran voice on the bench, but serves as the Heat’s hockey style enforcer for heated matchups like these.
Haslem defended Wade when a question about “ring chasing” was brought up. Haslem said that’s not what Wade to Cleveland is about.
“He’s not chasing rings,” Haslem said. “He’s got three rings. For him, it might be a situation that comes down to a lot of things. We have a lot of depth here (in Miami). I don’t know if there’s as many minutes here as he would like.”
Miami’s first of three matchups with the Cavaliers will be November 28th in Cleveland. The teams only face one another once in South Florida – a late season affair on March 27th.