Heat players for life. Committed to the cause. Both millionaires but giving up millions more for the good of the team and not just once. This is Wade's second go around at this and the third time for Haslem. Look up in the rafters of the AAA Heat fans because in several years two more uniform numbers will be retired and hanging there. One will be Dwyane Wade's number 3 and the other will be Udonis Haslem's 40.
Heat president Pat Riley said of Wade in a statement announcing his re-signing that Dwyane, "has been the franchise cornerstone since the day he arrived 11 years ago." Not many players spend their entire careers with only one team. And yet I think most of us would be stunned to see Wade pull a Michael Jordan and wear another uniform in the final innings of his career.
Besides money, Wade also set aside his ego heading into the second year of the Big 3 and took a backseat to LeBron James. Imagine how selfless an act that was and hard that must have been for Wade. After all, when do you think the last time was that Wade wasn't the first option on any team he played for? Grade school perhaps.
But it was no accident that in nightly player introductions, it was Wade who had the honor of having his name called out last by public address announcer Michael Biamonte. This has been and always will be Dwyane Wade's team. Ernie Banks will forever be referred to as "Mr. Cub" and if such a moniker existed, Wade would be known as "Mr. Heat".
The prediction here is that the Heat will one day erect a statue of Dwyane Wade and place it outside the AAA. And it will be a well deserved honor for the future Hall of Famer.
This is the third time Udonis Haslem has sacrificed money for the good of the team or to remain a member of the Heat. Back in 2010 Haslem turned down a guaranteed $34 million offer from the Denver Nuggets to remain with the Heat for $20 million.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra has referred to Haslem countless times as a "warrior". Haslem has been the team captain for seven seasons, tying soon to be Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning for the number of years with that honor.
Haslem has been an enforcer and protector of his teammates when necessary. He crashes the boards and dives for balls with incredible intensity. While many other players would publicly complain about not getting enough playing time, Haslem never said a word despite long stretches of not getting into any games. And while there many games when Spoestra didn't start UD, the coach often had him on the floor during crucial moments at the end of games.
His loyalty will surely be repaid when Haslem hangs 'em up, either as a member of the Heat front office or with a coaching posititon.
Both Wade and Haslem signed two year deals as did Luol Deng, Mario Chalmers and Danny Granger. This will allow the Heat with millions in cap room to spend on the free agent class of 2016 headlined by Kevin Durant.
On Tuesday, Wade announced his return on his Instagram account, posting a photo of him in uniform standing under three championship banners. The caption read, "Home Is Where The Heart Is...My Home, My City, My House...#HeatLifer".
Wade and Haslem embody the Heat. They began their NBA careers together with the Heat back in 2003 and the Hollywood ending would be having them ride into retirement together.