Hassan Whiteside turned out to be a flop at Sacramento Kings but he had to work hard to return to the NBA and stage a fairy tale comeback. Whiteside is now considered as a deserving candidate for a maximum contract in this offseason.
Whiteside entered the NBA as a pleasing prospect after only one collegiate season at Marshall. But he went through a couple of disastrous seasons with the Kings and in turn, Sacramento played him in only 18 games, in which Whiteside averaged 1.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks. He lost his place in the elite league. Surely, he expected to get more playing minutes for the Kings.
Hassan Whiteside had to play in Lebanon, China and the D-League to return to NBA. In November 2014, the 33rd draft pick of the 2010 NBA draft was playing in Iowa Energy, eyeing to draw the attention of the NBA teams. Whiteside posted decent averages of 22 points, 15.7 rebounds and 5.3 blocks in 28.7 minutes while shooting 85.7 percent from the field for Iowa, as reported by the Basketball Insiders. Miami Heat, riddled by a number of injured players in their roster, were looking for a replacement. They banked on Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, Henry Walker and Michael Beasley on short-term deals to check their potentials.
Center Whiteside was back in the NBA, but only on a 10-day contract. And as a thorough professional, he made the most of the slightest opportunity he got. Miami signed him for the rest of the 2014-15 season, and Whiteside exceeded all the expectations by registering averages of 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.8 minutes per game.
The story of Whiteside’s comeback doesn’t end there. The center continued to show remarkable signs of improvement this season to evolve as one of the best centers of the league. In the 60 games he featured for the Heat this season, Whiteside’s numbers have improved to 13.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and an NBA-best 3.8 blocks in just 28.8 minutes per game.
And Hassan Whiteside is drawing trade interests this summer. Many teams are eager to sign him and he is currently ninth among all the NBA players in terms of PER, only behind the superstars like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and James Harden.
“I come in and try to bring value every minute I’m out there,” Whiteside reportedly said. “I feel like every game [I’m] getting more and more comfortable each time I play on the court. I feel like I’m getting better as an NBA player.”
Whiteside will be hitting the trade market as an unrestricted free agent this July. There are 17 teams who could provide a maximum deal as the salary cap-space increases this summer. And Hassan Whiteside is keenly awaiting an offer. He also notched up four triple doubles, according to the Sun Senitel.
The 26-year-old is making $981,348 this season, which makes him the best bargain contracts of the offseason. In all probabilities Hassan Whiteside’s next contract is going to be a maximum one.