Heat center Hassan Whiteside doesn’t need flashy numbers to get a huge contract this summer, according to Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. His statistics are impressive enough — averaging 12.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and four blocks per game through the first half of the season — but teammates say the 26-year-old can help himself more by playing smart, team-oriented basketball. “If Hassan is healthy, he’s gonna get paid,” said Dwyane Wade. “It’s not even necessarily about numbers in today’s game; it’s about what a team feels you can bring to them and how you can fit into their system. But I also just allow Hassan to be Hassan. You can’t change him to be what you want him to be. You have to allow him to be him and help him along the way.” Whiteside, who was out of the NBA for two seasons before signing with Miami midway through last season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
There’s more news out of Miami:
- It was a decision to choose the D-League over a guaranteed, multimillion-dollar offer from China that led Whiteside back to the NBA, writes Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Those were the choices Whiteside faced in November of 2014 after being released by the Grizzlies. He spent time with the Iowa Energy before getting his shot with the Heat. “If I went, I might have just stayed in China,” Whiteside said. “I wasn’t chasing the dollars, though. I was chasing the dream of becoming an amazing NBA player. All of that comes, obviously. The contract, the fame. Even before I knew anything about money, I was a little kid and I didn’t know how much these players made. I wanted that – to be on TV, to have people looking up to me.”
- The Heat should consider trading Luol Deng‘s expiring contract for help on offense, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. He also suggests that if the franchise isn’t concerned about paying the luxury tax, it should consider releasing Jarnell Stokes or trading one of its excess big men for a productive wing player as soon as possible.
- Whiteside and Wade were the only players to get A’s from Winderman in his midseason report card for the Heat. However, his grades for both players dropped to B’s when considering the team’s current mix of talent.