The Heat have decided they want to keep impending free agent center Hassan Whiteside but are concerned that he’s getting more expensive, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. There were “serious concerns” earlier in the year about giving a huge deal to Whiteside, Jackson hears, but his recent play has taken care of those. Team president Pat Riley and executive Alonzo Mourning have both told Whiteside they’re happy with his progress, but the team can’t hold any formal contract discussions until summer because league rules prevent extensions for players with two-year deals. Whiteside could get a starting salary of approximately $22MM on a max contract, depending on the size of the cap. “I hope [there’s interest],” Whiteside said. “I like the organization. Pat Riley is always going to do a great job of adding people that are going to help you win. It’s not hard to sell to come to Miami. You can always recruit great talent.”
There’s more news from South Beach:
- Miami’s decision on how to handle its two open roster spots could be determined by the team’s faith in Josh McRoberts and Gerald Green, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The columnist says if the Heat believe both veteran forwards can contribute in the playoffs, they will likely fill the spots with players from their successful D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls. However, if there is doubt about McRoberts and Green, Winderman thinks the Heat will pursue a more seasoned player, suggesting 30-year-old Dorell Wright as a possibility. Wright, who began his career in Miami, played for the Blazers during the past two seasons but spent this year in the Chinese Basketball Association.
- With the regular season schedule dwindling, it’s becoming unlikely that Chris Bosh will play again before the playoffs, Winderman writes in the same story. Bosh hasn’t been in a game since February 9th because of concerns about reported blood clots in his left calf. With a western trip looming this week, Winderman notes that the team may not hold another practice before April 4th, which limits Bosh’s chance to return.
- Joe Johnson has started riding an exercise bike after games to help build endurance to keep up with Miami’s fast-paced offense, tweets Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. Johnson chose the Heat over the Cavaliers after agreeing to a buyout with Brooklyn because he prefers an up-tempo style.