The Lakers plan to make a strong push this offseason to sign unrestricted free agent Hassan Whiteside, Marc Stein of ESPN.com relays. While Los Angeles is still hopeful to land a face-to-face meeting with Kevin Durant when the free agent signing period commences, it is said to be highly intrigued by Whiteside’s nightly double-double potential, Stein adds.
With the Lakers seeking rim protection and perimeter shooting in the free agent market this summer, league sources inform Stein that Whiteside is now a “priority target” for the team. Of course, the Lakers won’t be the only team lining up to make a pitch to the 27-year-old. The Heat would certainly like to re-sign the big man, but cap flexibility is an issue in Miami and could prevent the two sides from working out an acceptable agreement. The Heat have only early Bird rights on Whiteside, meaning they must use cap space to sign him for more than the league average salary and cannot offer a fifth year on his deal. A maximum contract for Whiteside would be a projected $94.8MM over four years, as Stein notes.
The Mavericks are also reportedly prioritizing Whiteside, the Celtics have been mentioned as potential suitors and one would think the Knicks would get involved in the bidding given their cap space and major hole at the pivot after shipping out Robin Lopez in the deal to acquire Derrick Rose from the Bulls.
In 73 appearances this season for the Heat, Whiteside averaged 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in 29.1 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .606/.000/.650.