It’s not going to be easy for the Miami Heat to keep Hassan Whiteside next summer. He’s an unrestricted free agent, as is Dwyane Wade, and paying both what they will ask becomes a serious challenge. Plus, how much will the Heat pay a guy they need to sit for critical stretches of the fourth quarter?
Normally, this would mean that the Heat would be looking to trade him, or, at least, be considering it. And Whiteside’s name has come up in rumors about DeMarcus Cousins and Dwight Howard deals.
Don’t bet on it. The money doesn’t come close to working out. Ethan Skolnick laid it out beautifully at the Miami Herald (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
Whiteside’s contract is virtually worthless to another team. That doesn’t mean Whiteside is worthless. His skill set is worth plenty, even in a smallball era. But he’s making just $981,348 this season, and he will be a free agent as soon as the season ends. Miami cannot sign him to an extension now and, unless he’s willing to take a mid-level deal (he won’t be), the Heat will need to use cap space to re-sign him because it doesn’t have Bird Rights on him….
But here’s the thing about the Heat not having Bird Rights: Neither would any team that acquires him.
That means there is virtually no advantage to acquiring him now. He’s simply headed back into the free agent pool at the end of the season, when every team will have a chance to pitch him. The only potential edge you get in getting him early is that you can get him acclimated to your system, and try to show him it’s the perfect place for him to spend his future. In other words, exactly the same situation the Heat is in now with him. But that doesn’t seem like very solid ground, not solid enough to deal a real asset for him.
Skolnick says the Heat are “amused” by the trade rumors because they know a deal is highly unlikely.
As for the two big rumors out there, Howard makes $22.3 million and Cousins $15.8 million this season. Again, Whiteside makes less than $1 million. To do those deals means the Heat have to send a lot of salary out, cutting deep into their rosters. (The Kings aren’t going to move Cousins’ anyway, but that’s another discussion.)
And both teams would demand Justise Winslow in the deal as well.
All of which is to say, it’s not that a Whiteside deal is impossible, but it’s not likely. He probably ends the season with the Heat.