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ASK IRA: Will Udonis Haslem’s last Heat dance be as an active participant?

Q: Now that Udonis Haslem has re-signed, do you think that he will be utilized more often? After all, his number of rebounds speaks something about what he can do. – Jack, Pompano Beach.

A: But the overwhelming number of those rebounds came a decade ago. This is not the same player, clearly without the lift of a younger Udonis Haslem. Considering Erik Spoelstra has not played Udonis over the last six seasons, when he said, and Udonis said, that Haslem was ready and willing, it almost would be condemnation of the remainder of the power rotation to shift course now. Again, Udonis did not play a single minute in the Heat’s playoff run within a victory of last season’s NBA Finals. Now, could he fill in during an emergency? Certainly, as he did last season. For a game or two or maybe 10. But a regular contributor? You would have to go back to 2014-15 to find the last time Ufonis played in even half the Heat’s games – eight years ago.

Q: We may have been one basket from the finals, but we got absolutely destroyed in the paint and the boards in some of those playoff losses. If Udonis Haslem wants to come back, fine, he’s earned it. But we need a trade to get some height. This team is woefully undersized, and we were exposed in the playoffs. A healthy Robert Williams would’ve made that a different series. Playoffs are about matchups, and we don’t match up to the taller teams. – John, Ocala.

A: But the Heat do have height, real height, beyond Bam Adebayo. There is a brawn of Dewayne Dedmon, the size of Omer Yurtseven, the length of Nikola Jovic. Now, you can question whether that is playoff-level height, but Bam and those other three account for nearly a third of the Heat’s primary 14-player standard roster (plus there is the bulk of Darius Days on his two-way deal). So the question isn’t whether the Heat are big enough, it is whether the Heat have misplaced their trust with that height.

Q: At 22 to 23 years and 140 days years of age, Udonis Haslem played either in France or was trying out for the Heat. Have respectful consideration for Tyler Herro. Tyler has already balled out in the NBA Finals like no rookie Heat player and almost every NBA player his age ever has dreamed of doing. And in his third season, he won Sixth Man of the Year. While he has deficiencies in his overall game at 22 years of age (like most do), the near disdain for this young Heat star is perplexing to me. He’s a serious, dedicated basketball player. Can you tell me in any way how he will be at Jimmy Butler’s age? And if he is still on the Heat roster by then, he most certainly would be an OG team leader and likely lifer. – David, Miami.

A: This was in response to my post about the Heat player most likely to follow in Udonis Haslem’s footsteps. By pointing to Bam Adebayo as the most likely successor to carry the Heat’s torch of culture, it wasn’t meant to denigrate Tyler Herro, but rather to point to Bam’s ongoing and engaging personality. Tyler, by contrast, generally is soft spoken, instead expressing himself through his style. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some gravitate naturally to leadership. For others, success comes in alternate ways.

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