The Heat don’t have a Plan B if center Hassan Whiteside doesn’t have the season they expect, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Whiteside, who recently had his salary fully guaranteed for the 2015/16 season, didn’t become a rotation player for Miami until January. He averaged 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds in 48 games, but that was after missing two NBA seasons, so he isn’t a sure thing for the future. Winderman notes that the salary cap limits the number of backup plans teams can afford. If Whiteside doesn’t pan out, the Heat’s options at center include Chris Bosh, newly signed veteran Amar’e Stoudemire, and Chris Andersen, who has been mentioned in trade rumors for luxury tax relief. Whiteside, who will make $981,348 this season, will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
- The Heat are grooming first-round pick Justise Winslow at forward rather than guard because Dwyane Wade is more likely to return in 2016/17 than Luol Deng, Winderman writes in the same piece. In June, Deng, an 11-year veteran, exercised an option for this season worth more than $10.1MM. He will become an unrestricted free agent next July.
- The inability to trade Mario Chalmers says more about the current state of the league than the player, Winderman writes in a separate story. There have been many rumors that Miami would like to move Chalmers and his $4.3MM salary to lower its impending luxury tax bill. Most teams have overstuffed training camp rosters, Winderman points out, and aren’t interested in adding players right now. A market for the seven-year veteran could emerge once injuries begin happening and teams become disenchanted with players on their rosters.
- The Heat have enough talent to bring Winslow along slowly, writes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. The rookie out of Duke was a pleasant surprise at the 10th pick, but he doesn’t have to be a contributor right away. The return from injury of Bosh and Josh McRoberts, along with this summer’s re-signing of Goran Dragic, will give Miami three key players who didn’t play a full season in 2014/15.