Hassan Whiteside endured a difficult 2017-18 season with the Miami Heat and his future with the team is in serious doubt.
After enjoying a career-best campaign the year before with averages of 17.0 points and 14.1 rebounds, his production dipped just 12 months later.
He put up 14 points and 11.1 rebounds last season and for a combination of reasons, Whiteside struggled to find his best form.
The 29-year-old played just 54 games as he was troubled by a knee injury and had to miss a considerable amount of time on more than one occasion.
But his absence didn’t derail the Heat. If anything, it allowed them to play a better brand of basketball.
Better without him
Erik Spoelstra experimented with a smaller lineup by placing Kelly Olynyk at center and it worked well for them.
Olynyk’s ability to shoot threes gave them a different weapon and his passing also added another dimension to their offence.
When Whiteside returned, he was often left out of fourth quarters by Spoelstra as he preferred his small unit to finish games.
This continued in the playoffs in their opening round series against the Philadelphia 76ers as the center found it hard to make an impact.
He became disgruntled with his role on the team and complained publicly on multiple occasions.
It was always rumoured that Miami would look to trade the big man and it seems that’s certainly true.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Heat have made him available for a trade but they haven’t received any offers for him.
“Two opposing general managers said last week that Whiteside has been made available but the trade market is limited, if non-existent, for a player who’s due $24.4 million this season and $27.1 million next season and plays a position that has become somewhat devalued,” Jackson wrote.
He added that president Pat Riley is unlikely to accept a worse contract in exchange.
It’s extremely unlikely that the Florida-based franchise will be able to offload the veteran and it looks like they’re already accepting that.
Last week, Spoelstra said he is in constant contact with Whiteside and has met with him during the offseason in a bid to improve their strained relationship.
“I have absolutely been in touch with Hassan,” Spoelstra said, according to the Palm Beach Post’s Tom D’Angelo.
“We’ve gotten together for lunch, in constant contact on the phone and in texts.
“I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan.”
The seven-footer will have a lot to prove next season but will surely have to expand his game and look to play more like a modern center to stay relevant.
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