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Heat Notes: Whiteside, Ellington, McGruder, Fizdale

Heat center Hassan Whiteside is ready to go from target to recruiter in the free agent market, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Whiteside was one of the top names in free agency over the summer, attracting interest from several organizations before re-signing with the Heat for $98MM over four years. Now he wants to be part of the effort to bring other big names to Miami. “When you start being around those guys a lot more, when you’re making the All-Star Game and when you’re making those different events where you get to meet the best players and hang around, that’s especially when you can build a bond with a lot of those guys,” Whiteside said. “I think that’s where a lot of recruitment comes from.”

There’s more news out of Miami:

  • Wayne Ellington should return soon from the quad injury that has sidelined him since the final preseason game, Winderman writes in a separate piece. The Heat signed Ellington in July to a two-year deal worth more than $12MM to bolster their outside shooting.
  • The Heat’s injury problems have created more playing time for Rodney McGruder, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. The rookie guard played more than 30 minutes twice this week, including some late-game experience. “It just puts you in those situations earlier than you ever would have expected,” he said. “I’m in a great situation with great teammates, a great coaching staff that believes in all of us. It makes it that much easier to go out there and play. For me, I just try to stay the course, and the minutes I do have — whatever they are — I treat them like crunch-time minutes. Because whenever you get out there those are important minutes.”
  • Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale says work ethic was the most important thing he learned during his time as an assistant under Erik Spoelstra, Navarro adds in the same story. Fizdale spent eight seasons in Miami before taking the Memphis job over the offseason. “I would put him against anybody in the league from the standpoint of preparation, time spent on watching film, really time spent on deep thought on what motivates his team, what guys to play,” Fizdale said of Spoelstra. “He’s a forward-thinking guy, really open minded, forward-thinking guy.”

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