By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The Miami Heat need to move on from making Hassan Whiteside the face of the franchise. Clearly, he’s not that. It was just a few seasons ago that they gave him a massive extension, thinking he could be the face of the team moving forward.
Yet, the 28-year-old has been frustated with his playing time, especially in their first round loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He played just 10 minutes and five seconds in their season finale in Game 5’s 104-91 loss.
“It’s been a long year, man, up and downs, up and downs,” he said after scoring just two points to The Sun Sentinel.
Whiteside clearly has had issues with head coach Erik Spoelstra’s approach, according to the newspaper, over the past two weeks. And Pat Riley would be best to get rid of him from their roster after giving him a four-year, $98 million deal.
The Heat are financially strapped and trading away Whiteside, who has not lived up to his contract, would help with them. Sure, they’ll have to take back something in return, but they could make it work.
Whiteside even said there is a communication problem between the two. He said he was not even informed of the team’s decision to bench him for the entire third quarter. The center suggested that he would bring it up with Spoelstra and Riley during his exit interview in the coming days.
He made $23.7 million this season. The 28-year-old has two more years left on his deal with $25.4 million coming in 2018-19, then a player option for $27 million in 2019-20.
Whiteside could barely play before signing with the Heat. Through two seasons, he played in 19 games over two seasons with the Sacramento Kings, before missing two seasons in the league.
He came back during the 2014-15 season, where he played in 48 games, including 32 starts after signing with Miami. After joining the Heat, he has appeared in 252 games and made 206 starts.
“Not being out there,” Whiteside said of his frustration with the team. “Not being out there. At least give me a chance to fight. At least give me a chance to fight. I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and played bad. At least give me a chance.”
Clearly, the Heat are no longer giving him the chance that he requests. The Heat would be best to move on and find another star, which they have not had since Dwyane Wade was in his prime.
“I think the thing is, as players, you don’t want to give yourself an excuse,” he said. “You want to look and see where you can be better at. It’s easy to say that this series wasn’t a big-man series. Or it’s easy to say that Coach did this, or that, or, ‘I got in foul trouble.’ Don’t give yourself an excuse. Just go into the summer and work on what you need to work on mentally and physically and get yourself ready for when this opportunity comes again.
“That’s the biggest thing. That shows your real character. When this same opportunity presents itself — because it’s going to come back fast — how are you going to prepare for it? How are you going to be better the next time you are in this situation?