It was two years ago when the Miami Heat still considered center Hassan Whiteside as the face of their franchise. His impressive performance in his first two seasons in Miami convinced the Heat to give him a four-year, $94.4 million contract in the summer of 2016. In the 2016-17 NBA season, Whiteside immediately proved his worth, averaging career-highs 17.0 points and 14.1 rebounds on 55.7 percent shooting from the field.
Hassan Whiteside remained dominant in the following season. However, after returning from an injury, the 29-year-old center found himself receiving a limited role in Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation. Whiteside, who is known for being a vocal player, expressed his frustration with his lack of playing time on numerous occasions, creating the speculations that he is no longer happy in Miami and the team could soon trade him somewhere else.
However, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Coach Erik Spoelstra hasn’t yet given up on the disgruntled big man. In a recent interview, Spoelstra revealed that he’s having constant communication with Whiteside. The 47-year-old Filipino-American coach is expecting a fresh start for Whiteside with the team next season.
“I have absolutely been in touch with Hassan,” Spoelstra said. “We’ve gotten together for lunch, in constant contact on the phone and in texts. Like many things in this league, it’s not what it seems on the outside. It’s pretty normal NBA life. I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that. And we still have a good part of the summer to get better. I think Hassan having an opportunity to start off the season healthy will be a really big boost for us.”
Spoelstra’s statement is undeniably a good thing to hear for Whiteside’s fans in Miami, but it is not an assurance that he is already untouchable on the trade market. A previous Inquisitr article revealed that the Heat are currently shopping some of the veterans to create salary cap space for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Kemba Walker are expected to hit the free agency market.
The Heat is reportedly planning to trade Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson, and Dion Waiters for expiring contract or draft picks. Unfortunately, as of now, the Heat is yet to find a trade partner, especially for Whiteside, who still has two years and $52.4 million left on his contract.