Just a few seasons ago, Hassan Whiteside was one of the best stories in the league. After bouncing around from the Kings, to the G-League, to Lebanon and China, Whiteside emerged a legitimate NBA big man with the Heat. He went from out of the league in 2012, to a $98 million man in the summer of 2016.
Last season, however, the relationship between Whiteside and the Heat took a big downturn. Mired in injuries, and often criticized for his lack of effort, the big man sent shots at the organization through the media. He was fined by the team after saying the minutes restriction they had him on was “b—s—,” and questioned his future with the club on multiple occasions. By the time the playoffs rolled around, he was barely playing, getting just 15 minutes per game in the team’s first-round loss to the 76ers.
Heading into the summer, it seemed all but certain that Whiteside would be on the move. But now, with Whiteside still on the roster, and the Heat declining to make any major moves this offseason, it seems the they’re ready to just run things back. According to Whiteside, he had a “great talk” recently with team president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra. After that discussion, he feels much better about his place on the squad. Via ESPN:
Center Hassan Whiteside told reporters Wednesday that he met with Miami Heat president Pat Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra last month and he is in a better place with the team now.
“We had a great talk,” Whiteside told reporters on a conference call to discuss Saturday’s NBA game in Africa, in which he plans to play. “I just think it’s trust on both sides. I think that’s the biggest thing … It was about a four-hour meeting. It was a lot about life. It was two hours basketball, two hours life. It was a good meeting.”
It’s not hard to imagine the Heat still moving Whiteside if they were able to find a suitable trade partner, but judging by this summer, it doesn’t seem many teams are interested — especially considering Whiteside’s hefty contract. So unless things had gotten so bad that the Heat were just going to buy him out, it’s wise for them to work hard at mending the relationship.
Plus, Whiteside can still be a valuable player when he’s healthy. He’s always going to vacuum up rebounds, and can be a strong rim protector when he’s engaged on the defensive end.
Courtesy: Bleacher Report