Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Azubuike, Olshey, Wolves

Hassan Whiteside‘s time with the Heat was often stormy, but he doesn’t hold any grudges against his former team, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Whiteside, who signed with the Jazz during the offseason, said he remains in contact with some of his ex-teammates.

“(Udonis Haslem), Bam (Adebayo), I still talk to them guys,” Whiteside said. “I even talk to (coach Eric Spoelstra). I told him, ‘Happy Father’s Day.’ I still talk to them guys. There are no hard feelings. We broke up. We were in a relationship and we broke up. I don’t hate nobody.”

Whiteside revived his career with Miami in 2014/15 after two years out of the league. He was the team’s starting center for five seasons, although he sometimes clashed with Spoelstra about playing time and his role on the team. He was traded to Portland in 2019 and is on his third team since that deal. In Utah, Whiteside has reunited with former teammate Dwyane Wade, who is a part owner of the Jazz.

“It’s a special feeling. Having D-Wade, seeing a familiar face like that,” Whiteside said. “He was a part of me even wanting to come to the Jazz. I don’t know what I would have been without D-Wade. D-Wade, I don’t think he knows how much he means to me.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz picked up their third-year option last week on Udoka Azubuike, which shows they still have confidence in the first-round pick from 2020, per Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. General manager Justin Zanik admits Azubuike has been placed in a difficult situation. “Last year we drafted him, and four days later he shows up to camp and we’re asking of him, one; you’re not going to get any reps in the regular season because of the goals that we have as the veteran team, and two; nobody in college plays like us,” Zanik said. “The only way you can learn that is reps, but last year he had a major injury. He only played in one game.”
  • The “bully act” by Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey has been allowed to continue for too long, contends John Canzano of The Oregonian. The team has opened an investigation into Olshey amid accusations of a toxic work environment. Canzano states that Jody Allen deserves some of the blame for not controlling Olshey’s behavior during the three years she has owned the team.
  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic examines the issues that have caused the Timberwolves to go into a four-game tailspin after a 3-1 start. Krawczynski notes that teams have discovered Minnesota doesn’t have enough shooters to make them pay for doubling Karl-Anthony Towns, while Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels have hit rough spots after strong rookie seasons.
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