Hassan Whiteside, the soon-to-be free agent center, will receive a host of max offers during the forthcoming offseason. Though Miami Heat president Pat Riley will try to clear cap space to try and retain the shot-blocking phenomenon, Whiteside is expected to listen to every offer on the table.
Earlier this week, Whiteside told the Miami Herald that Heat has given him no indication about their interest in retaining him. “They haven’t talked about (free agency). They want to see how far we get this season with this team. Playoffs will speak a lot,” said the 7-footer.
Depends on playoffs…
The fourth-seeded Heat (43-30) are viewed as the only team with a legitimate shot at defeating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the postseason. “I hope (there’s interest to re-sign me). I like the organization. Pat Riley is always going to do a great job of adding people that are going to help you win. It’s not hard to sell to come to Miami. You can always recruit great talent.”
Though Whiteside has expressed his desire to stay back in South Beach, it won’t be easy for Miami to offer him the kind of money other teams can. Miami currently have a projected $40 million in cap space with a $92 million cap. They would still need to re-sign Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson, besides offering Whiteside a max contract. On paper, that’s impossible to do.
Wade to take paycut?
However, it’s possible that Wade, Deng and Johnson take paycuts to accommodate Whiteside. Since Miami don’t own Whiteside’s Bird Rights, they are in the current predicament.
According to the Miami Herald, Riley could make some trades to pull off the miracle. “If the Heat can somehow find a taker for Josh McRoberts without taking money back, cap space could grow to $46 million. Say, hypothetically, the Heat gives Whiteside $20 million next season. That would leave $26 million for Wade/Johnson and either Deng or another player,” writes Heat reporter Barry Jackson.
Hassan Whiteside leads the NBA in blocks, averaging an impressive 3.7 rejections per game. He has been previously linked with the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics as possible destinations.