If the latest rumors from behind the scenes are to be believed, three key players from last year’s Miami Heat team, including center Hassan Whiteside, could be included in potential trades to take place in the ongoing offseason.
In his regular column for the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson took a look at the Heat’s salary cap situation and discussed how team president Pat Riley has been managing things without the luxury to sign expensive, top-flight players to take his team to the next level. Jackson mentioned how the Heat were able to re-sign Whiteside, guards Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters, and forward James Johnson to long-term contracts, as they wanted to outbid other teams interested in their services or felt they filled a need for the team. He also cited ESPN analyst Amin Elhassan, who said last month that Miami has “[done] the best job in the league” in making use of their G-League team for scouting and development purposes.
While Jackson stressed that the Heat were justified in re-signing their four aforementioned veterans to lucrative deals in recent years, he cited two unnamed NBA general managers, who told him that Miami has made three of those players — Johnson, Waiters, and Whiteside — “available in trade talks this summer.” He added that the team has yet to find a suitable trade partner for the players in question, but suggested that Johnson could be the best player to ship to another team, preferably in exchange for a “worse player” with a slightly lower salary than the $19.2 million he will be making in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 NBA seasons.
The rumor of Hassan Whiteside possibly being on the trading block also stood out, as Jackson’s Miami Herald column came just days after the 29-year-old center reportedly cleared the air with the Heat during a meeting with Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
According to the Sporting News, Whiteside had a “great” four-hour talk with both team officials, where he emphasized that he’s healthy after last season’s injury problems, and is ready to “be out there as much as possible” and make up for last year’s disappointing performance.
Prior to his talk with the Miami Heat, Hassan Whiteside was widely rumored to be seeking a trade due to his alleged frustration with his decreased role on the team. With injuries limiting his playing time, he averaged 14 points and 11.4 rebounds in 2017-18, which represented a downtick from the 17 points and 14.1 rebounds per game he produced in the 2016-17 season. Similarly, Tyler Johnson and Dion Waiters’ numbers took a slight hit last season, with Waiters seeing action in only 30 games after his season prematurely ended in January due to ankle surgery.