If we’re talking big men, Hassan Whiteside is the most prized free agent going into the summer. Though the Los Angeles Lakers (13-51) and New York Knicks (26-38) are preparing to woo the big man with maximum contracts, Whiteside isn’t interested in joining a losing franchise.
Since they don’t own Whiteside’s bird rights, the Miami Heat will have to essentially sacrifice Luol Deng and another player or two to re-sign the shot-blocking phenomenon to a maximum contract. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Heat president Pat Riley. Therefore, don’t be surprised if Whiteside stays put in South Beach.
Whiteside acknowledges he has the opportunity to become the franchise player of a new team. However, he’s not interested in lottery teams. “That’d be nice (to become a franchise player),” the Heat center told the Sun Sentinel recently.
New-look Heat roster?
With Kevin Durant also entering free agency, Whiteside knows that Riley is capable of pairing the two in a new-look Heat roster. “I feel like a lot of people want to be that. But I want to win more than anything. I don’t really want to be the face of a losing franchise. You want to be a face of a winning program. And it’s always easier to get people to come to Miami,” said the 7-footer.
Since Miami Heat have to use up cap space to re-sign Whiteside, there is still a lot of speculation surrounding his future with the team. “It’s going to be interesting,” Whiteside said about his forthcoming off-season. “The way I think now I might not think at the end of the season. I might have a different perspective. My perspective now is different than when I first came. A lot changed.”
Recently, Whiteside moved to the bench to accommodate new acquisition Joe Johnson. Whiteside is averaging 13.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 blocks in his best-ever NBA season. Stay tuned for latest Lakers Rumors.