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Whiteside Linked to Houston
Monday, Feb. 15
Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610 reported that the Heat, Houston Rockets and Atlanta Hawks are discussing a trade that would send Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Chris Andersen to the Rockets, Dwight Howard to the Hawks and Jeff Teague and Al Horford to the Heat.
Spolane added that the deal "is not imminent," reporting that the Hawks want the Heat to include Justise Winslow, but Miami has pushed back against including the rookie.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News originally reported that the Heat were discussing Whiteside as part of a potential Howard deal earlier on Monday.
Whiteside Uncertain to Remain in Miami
Monday, Feb. 15
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported Whiteside's future in Miami "looks increasingly questionable." Jackson added:
Even before his ejection angered Heat officials Tuesday, there have been serious reservations inside the organization about giving Whiteside the type of contract Miami believes he could attract in free agency, one that could start at $17 million or more.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard said the Heat is gauging trade interest in Whiteside, and two people in contact with the Heat told me that Miami appears open to considering a Whiteside trade, if it can dump other salary and get quality talent back, because it knows it’s going to be uncomfortably costly to keep him. Heat officials have expressed frustration with him, for reasons we explained in last Sunday's column.
But the Heat also knows the odds would be against a trade this week because he’s earning just $981,000 (causing cap complications) and the team acquiring him wouldn’t have any financial advantage in re-signing him.
Heat Frustrated But Likely to Keep Whiteside
Wednesday, Feb. 10
ESPN's Chris Broussard said Wednesday the team is open to offers. However, Whiteside's unique contract situation presents a number of obstacles that make it impossible to recoup equal value.
Whiteside, 26, is making just $981,348 this season as part of the two-year contract he signed in Miami last year. That number is roughly on par with what the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Serbian center Nikola Milutinov, would have made had he not stayed overseas.
While his salary made moves like signing Goran Dragic far easier, it's created an unpalatable situation as Whiteside has ascended to stardom. The former second-round washout is averaging 12.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game, emerging as one of the NBA's pre-eminent rim protectors. Opponents are shooting 47.9 percent against Whiteside at the rim this season, per NBA.com, a solid number that could be better if he weren't constantly chasing blocks.
Of course, it's Whiteside's frustrating habits that have Miami considering a move in the first place. The team sent him home on Feb. 9 after he purposefully elbowed Spurs center Boban Marjanovic in the fourth quarter of a 119-101 loss in San Antonio. Those kinds of incidents have become par for the course with Whiteside, who has been punished multiple times for on-court altercations.
"That's something we'll deal with with Hassan," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday, per Michael Wallace of ESPN.com. "We don't condone that kind of play. We've been through this with him before. But it's a disappointing play. That's not a basketball play."
Even if Miami wanted to move Whiteside and attach a contract (most likely Luol Deng) to make a deal work from a salary perspective, it wouldn't make sense for a non-contender to give up much in return.
The Heat do not hold Whiteside's Bird rights, an exception in the NBA collective bargaining agreement that allows teams to go over the cap to sign their own stars.
With Chris Bosh and Dragic already on the books for more than $39 million and Dwyane Wade due a new contract, signing Whiteside may be impossible for Miami despite the NBA's booming cap. The Heat are one of only a few teams that will struggle to have max-level salary room this summer.
As it stands, teams could wait out the remainder of 2015-16 and then lavish Whiteside with the type of deal that takes Miami out of the running. Heat president Pat Riley may have unearthed a gem with Whiteside, but the NBA's salary rules have him in an awful situation.
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