Following their Game 7 loss to the Raptors on Sunday, the Heat will begin their offseason preparation in earnest, and Hassan Whiteside – who was sidelined for most of the team’s series against Toronto – will play a key role in Miami’s summer. As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, there will be “considerable debate” within the organization over the next several weeks about whether or not to offer Whiteside a max deal.
Of course, before the Heat can even move forward in negotiations with Whiteside, the club will have to determine whether Kevin Durant will be a realistic free agent target, says Jackson — the Oklahoma City star would be Miami’s top priority in free agency if he’s available, and if the Heat could land Durant, the odds of keeping Whiteside would decline significantly. So the team may need to get a read on Durant’s intentions before getting serious about retaining Whiteside.
Let’s check in on a few other notable issues and decisions facing the Heat this summer…
- Even if Chris Bosh isn’t healthy enough to return to the Heat next season, the team wouldn’t be able to excise his cap number from the books until at least February 2017, notes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. If Bosh remains on the cap but is unable to play, the Heat will essentially be operating with about 75% of the salary cap flexibility of the rest of the league’s teams, says Winderman.
- We rounded up some postgame comments from the Heat’s pending free agents after Sunday’s game, and Winderman goes a little more in-depth on those comments in his own Sun Sentinel piece, with Udonis Haslem, Joe Johnson, and Amar’e Stoudemire among the free-agents-to-be who offered their thoughts on a potential return.
- Within a pair of recent mailbags, Winderman explored whether Joe Johnson has a future in Miami beyond this season, whether or not Whiteside deserves a max deal, and whether there would be a market for Goran Dragic if the Heat made him available via trade.