NBA Analysis: Hassan Whiteside Remains Optimistic About Heat Future After ‘Great Talk’ With Pat Riley

Are the Heat still considering Hassan Whiteside as the face of the franchise?

Hassan Whiteside staying with Heat
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Are the Heat still considering Hassan Whiteside as the face of the franchise?

Since the end of the 2017-18 NBA season, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Hassan Whiteside will be parting ways with the Miami Heat this summer. Whiteside expressed his frustration with his lack of playing time, creating the speculations that he is no longer happy in Miami. However, there is a growing optimism in South Beach the Heat are slowly regaining Whiteside’s trust.

According to a report from ESPN, Heat President Pat Riley revealed that they have not made Hassan Whiteside available in trade talks this offseason. Riley still sees Whiteside as part of the long-term plan, but he said that the veteran center “has a lot of work to do.” In a recent interview with reporters, Whiteside said he had a “great talk” with Riley and Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, adding that the conversation helped them address several issues.

“We had a great talk,” Whiteside said, via Shandel Richardson of the Sun Sentinel. “I just think it’s trust on both sides. I think that’s the biggest thing … It was about a four-hour meeting. It was a lot about life. It was two hours basketball, two hours life. It was a good meeting.”

Hassan Whiteside missed 32 games last season due to injury. When he returned, Whiteside found himself out of the Heat’s rotation, losing his spot to Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk. With lesser playing time, Whiteside has shown a huge drop in his statistics from 17 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks to 14.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks.

Now that he is 100 percent healthy, Hassan Whiteside is very confident that his production and playing time will increase next season.

“I think the biggest thing is I just want to be out there,” Whiteside said. “It wasn’t about nothing else. I just wanted to be out there as much as possible. I think [I’ll play more] because I’ll be healthy. Last year, I wasn’t healthy.”

Despite his inability to shoot from beyond the arc, Whiteside can still be a reliable contributor for the Heat on both ends of the floor. The Heat haven’t made any major moves this off-season, but they believe their current roster can compete in the Eastern Conference, especially if they improve their chemistry. Aside from fixing their relationship with Whiteside, the Heat are also currently focused on Dwyane Wade, who is yet to decide whether he will play for another reason or not. Heat President Pat Riley thinks Wade still has something left in his tank, but he said that they are willing to be patient to wait his decision.