7:43pm: The Mavericks are emerging as the frontrunners for Whiteside, Wojnarowski tweets.
2:06pm: The Trail Blazers also remain in the mix for Whiteside, having scheduled a meeting with him that will take place within the next 24 hours, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Jackson reports that Whiteside hasn’t set up any sit-downs with suitors outside of Miami, Dallas, and Portland.
One source who spoke to the Heat tells Jackson that there’s growing sentiment within the organization to offer Whiteside a max contract, though the team hasn’t made a final decision on that yet.
1:56pm: With midnight fast approaching, Hassan Whiteside‘s focus is centered on the Mavericks and the Heat, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), who adds that a decision could come quickly once the calendar turns to July. While Wojnarowski doesn’t explicitly say that Whiteside has narrowed his choice to Dallas or Miami, it sounds like those two clubs are the current frontrunners.
We’ve heard the Lakers, Celtics, Hornets, and Trail Blazers identified as other teams with interest in Whiteside, but the Mavericks are the team set to meet with him shortly after the recruiting period gets underway on July 1st. According to a report from Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com, the Mavs will “absolutely” put a maximum-salary offer on the table for Whiteside, who is one of the club’s top two targets, along with Mike Conley.
The Heat have the cap room necessary to retain Whiteside, no matter what his asking price, but some reports have indicated that not all members of Miami’s front office are sold on the idea of a max deal for Whiteside. With free agency about to get underway, and the possibility of losing Whiteside looming over the franchise, I wonder if the Heat will bite the bullet and make a max offer.
Whichever team lands Whiteside will be getting a rim-protector and rebounder, who averaged 11.8 boards and a league-leading 3.7 blocks per game last season, in just 29.1 minutes per contest. Whiteside also contributed on the offensive end, scoring 14.2 points per game, with a .606 FG%.