Image Credit: Jennifer Stewart, USA TODAY Sports
After bouncing in and out of the NBA, the G-League (then the D-League) and even spending time overseas, Hassan Whiteside burst on the scene in 2014-15. Averaging a double-double and blocking 2.6 shots per game, the 7-footer finally displayed the ability to make an impact at the NBA level.
Leading the league in blocks the following season and rebounds the next, Whiteside had proven to be a valuable piece for the Miami Heat. His emergence led to the front office signing him to a four-year, $98 million contract extension following the 2015-16 season.
Following arguably his best season in 2016, Whiteside’s situation in Miami seemed just fine. After a disappointing 2017 season filled with injuries and temper tantrums, however, Miami began shopping the center and his hefty contract. Although the 265-pounder’s scoring numbers haven’t returned to their 17-PPG peak, Whiteside’s been able to pace the league in blocks (2.9) and currently ranks second in rebounds (13.7) thus far in the 2018 campaign.
Just a couple days removed from leaving the bench with just under 41 seconds left in a game vs. Orlando to “use the restroom,” Sam Amico of Amico Hoops reported the following on Thursday:
“The Miami Heat continue to look for a taker for center Hassan Whiteside but are having no luck so far, league sources told Amico Hoops.”
It seems that Miami’s patience with its center is growing quite thin. No longer a 25 or 26-year-old kid still learning how to conduct himself as a professional in the NBA, Whiteside should be right in the middle of his prime at 29, meaning he’s pretty close to or already fully matured in multiple aspects.
No stranger to on-court scuffles repeated benchings in fourth quarters and public spats about coaching/managerial decisions, Whiteside has been on thin ice with the team many times before.
Averaging 25 and 27 minutes per game, respectively, in the last two seasons, a change of scenery might be best for Whiteside to reset and tap into his full potential. This would also clear a lot of money off the books for the Heat and allow them to begin planning for the future.
The main issue with a potential trade is Whiteside’s contract. Making $25 million this season and $27 million in 2019-20 as part of a player option he’s almost certain to opt into, potential suitors aren’t plentiful. The team taking on his large salary would need to have complete faith in the Marshall University product and/or have tons of cap space to work with.
This saga may drag on for a few months, as Miami has until the February trade deadline to move Whiteside. Stay tuned for updates as/if needed.