Hassan Whiteside‘s playoff performance may help the Heat determine how much they’re willing to pay him, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. If Whiteside contributes to a long postseason run, team president Pay Riley will be more inclined to give him a long-term contract starting at about $22MM per season. But an early exit or a poor performance might make management think twice about committing so much to the 26-year-old center, even though he led the NBA in blocks this season, tied for third in rebounding and finished third in field-goal percentage. “It’s very meaningful,” Whiteside said of the postseason. “Every day is a day I can try to leave an impression on the Heat. They really emphasize winning here. I want to make a good impression.”
There’s more news out of Miami:
- Whiteside never enjoyed the reserve role that coach Erik Spoelstra had him play for about two months, according to Michael Wallace of ESPN.com. A lineup tweak just before the playoffs made Whiteside a starter again, and Dwyane Wade was glad to see it. “Coach did it and we all support whatever decisions he makes,” Wade said. “We haven’t played with [Whiteside] since [Chris Bosh] went out, so this is our first time. It was good as we get prepared for the playoffs.”
- Dorell Wright may not get off the bench much in the playoffs, but he couldn’t be happier to be back in Miami, relays Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 30-year-old Wright, who played in China most of this season, officially signed with the Heat on Tuesday. Miami drafted Wright out of high school in 2004 and he spent his first six NBA seasons with the team. “It’s awesome, man, just the energy I felt as soon as I walked into the building was great,” he said. “It’s been a long time, somewhere I grew as a man, as a player, as a professional,” Wright said. “So just happy to be back. It’s been a long little journey for me.”
- Goran Dragic‘s play in the postseason may also determine his future in Miami, Winderman writes in a separate piece. Winderman speculates that the Heat may decide to move Dragic this summer and use his salary-cap room on someone else.