Hassan Whiteside has earned a maximum contract with his play over the past two seasons, contends Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The Heat center leads the NBA in blocks and is fourth in rebounding, and Kennedy believes he has a strong case to be named Defensive Player of the Year. Because Whiteside was out of the league for two seasons, Miami was able to get him at a bargain rate. He’s making just $981,348 this year, but a major raise will be coming when he hits unrestricted free agency in July. Seventeen teams are projected to have enough cap space to offer at least one max deal, and the Heat won’t have Bird rights on him. “I can’t control anything that’s going to happen in free agency,” Whiteside said recently to Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “I just try to be the best teammate and the best guy I can be and I think everything else is going to take its place. [My inner circle and I] really don’t talk about it. It’s really like, ‘Whenever the time comes, it comes.’ We focus on making a deep playoff run and everything else is in due time.”
There’s more tonight out of Miami:
- Dwyane Wade, 34, gives hardly any thought to retirement, according to Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post. The shooting guard, who scored his 20,000th NBA point Saturday, has a chance to play 75 games for the first time since the 2010/11 season. Team president Pat Riley said recently that the 13-year veteran could play until he’s 40, and Wade may be intent on doing that. “I go out there each year and try to do what I can within that season and I’m gonna try to do that until I don’t want to do that no more,” Wade said. “If God continues to bless me where I’m able to have the health to play, then I will do it. When I feel like I don’t want to do it no more, hopefully I can walk away from it when that time comes. But I’m enjoying it, man. I really like this team. I really like the vibe that we’re building in the city of Miami. No complaints here.”
- Briante Weber, whom the Grizzlies chose not to re-sign when his 10-day contract ended Friday, has rejoined the Heat’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, tweets Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor.