NBA rumors are swirling around Hassan Whiteside. Free agency is coming up this summer, and Whiteside is expected to be one of the most attractive targets. Due to some pretty impressive games this season, Hassan has drawn attention from various teams in the National Basketball Association. According to Hoops Rumors, Whiteside might now be too expensive for the Miami Heat to keep. Another team will surely overpay to get the services of the 26-year-old center.
Hassan Whiteside has emerged as one of the best at rebounding in the NBA. Over the last 18 games, there has only been one where the 7’0″, 260-pound center pulled down less than 10 rebounds. Whiteside even pulled down 23 rebounds when the Miami Heat played the Washington Wizards back in March. For the season, Whiteside is averaging 11.8 rebounds per game. That puts him at fourth in the National Basketball Association, ahead of Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
Hassan Whiteside has also emerged as a pretty good scorer in the NBA. Over the past 18 games, he has scored double digits in 17 of those. That means that Whiteside has 16 double-doubles over that stretch of time. Hassan has also proven that he can score more than 20 points a game, a figure that might be more consistent if he were more of the focal point. Dwyane Wade is still the focal point of the Miami Heat offense.
Shot blocking is another forte of Hassan Whiteside. For the season, he’s averaging 3.7 blocks per game, which helps out tremendously on the defensive end. Having someone that can protect the rim makes it easier for NBA teams to overcome poor perimeter defenders. A team like the Houston Rockets would love to have Hassan covering up for James Harden, who is only an adequate defender whenever he feels like being one. Whiteside has had three games this season where he has blocked more than 10 shots, which is quite an incredible feat.
Another thing that bodes well for Hassan Whiteside is the fact that he’s just 26-years-old. He also spent years playing internationally, so he hasn’t played as many games as a typical NBA player around the same age. General managers will view Whiteside as someone that can be a defensive anchor and building block for several years to come.
The Miami Heat are hoping that Hassan Whiteside takes lesser money to stick around. They have one of the most talented rosters in the Eastern Conference. Their chances of making it to the NBA Finals are greater if Whiteside sticks around. It becomes even greater if LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers continue to have chemistry issues. If James walks away from the Cavaliers in free agency again, then the Heat could become the favorites.
Unfortunately for the Miami Heat, though, there’s a very good chance that Hassan Whiteside cashes in and signs a bigger contract with another NBA team. The fact that he struggled before making it to the big league means that he is concerned about money. Whiteside might never get another chance like this, so he and his agent might be quick to secure his financial future. NBA contracts are guaranteed, so he would definitely be set for life.
Along with Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, Hassan Whiteside should be one of the most discussed centers in free agency this summer. The NBA might be going with smaller lineups, but big men still have some value, especially one that is as talented and multifaceted as Whiteside. The future of the Miami Heat rests within his decision. The fate of the Eastern Conference does as well. Whiteside can actually shift the balance of power.
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]