The 2017-18 NBA season is officially over for the Miami Heat after they suffered a first-round elimination in the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers. With their eyes focused on the upcoming offseason, the Heat reportedly plan to make changes on their roster, and according to Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post, Miami's "biggest priority" is moving Hassan Whiteside and his lucrative contract.
When LeBron James left Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, the Heat turned from a title-contending team to an average playoff contender. Heat President Pat Riley tried to bring superstars to South Beach, but failed to acquire their target free agents. In the upcoming offseason, Riley remains optimistic that the Heat can put together a solid roster that could help them return to the NBA Finals.
Unfortunately, the Heat need to make multiple roster moves in order to have salary cap space to chase superstar in 2018 free agency. They are on the hook for $119 million next season with 10 players under contract. In order to clear salary cap space, D'Angelo believes the Heat could start by finding a team who is willing to absorb Hassan Whiteside and the remaining two-years and $52 million on his contract.
Multiple signs are pointing out the Whiteside and the Heat will part ways in the upcoming offseason. The 28-year-old center is no longer happy with the team, and there are multiple occasions when he publicly expressed his frustration with his lack of playing time. The emergence of Kelly Olynyk and Bam Abedayo is one of the major reasons behind Whiteside's diminished role. Coach Erik Spoelstra prefers to use either big man if they want to play or counter small ball.
According to The Ringer, trading Hassan Whiteside might be impossible since there are only a few teams in the league who are expected to express interest in adding a traditional center on an expensive deal on their roster. D'Angelo shared the sentiment, but he suggested that a deal could be possible if the Heat include Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo, or Goran Dragic. Joining a new team could help Whiteside revive his NBA career and prove that he deserves the max contract he signed in 2016.