The Heat are “at least gauging” what the trade market would bear for Hassan Whiteside amid their frustration with him, ESPN’s Chris Broussard said in television appearance today (video link). Broussard speculates that it’s unlikely the Heat make a move, since his minimum-salary contract and the league’s salary-matching rules don’t give them the ability to reap much value in return. Plus, Whiteside has only Early Bird rights, and not full Bird rights, meaning the Heat or any team that trades for him couldn’t exceed the cap to pay him any more than the average salary, likely around $6MM. The 26-year-old, who leads the NBA with 3.9 blocked shots per game, appears a safe bet to command a salary much closer to the projected $20.4MM max than to that figure.
Whiteside drew his first ejection of the season Tuesday, after having twice been tossed out of games last year, for throwing an elbow in the direction of Spurs center Boban Marjanovic during Miami’s game against San Antonio. It left coach Erik Spoelstra irate, while Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, in their postgame comments, urged Whiteside to keep his emotions in check, as Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post detailed.
The decision-making of Whiteside has come into question, and the Heat have been bringing him off the bench since he returned from an oblique injury. Whiteside said when he had an earlier injury that the thought of his upcoming free agency entered his mind as he decided whether to play or sit out.
Miami is operating on other fronts, reportedly seeking 3-point shooting, with Omri Casspi as an object of apparent interest, while making aggressive attempts to offload players at the end of the bench. The Heat would pay the NBA’s first repeat-offender tax penalties if they don’t trim about $5.5MM from the books by season’s end.