Outside of Kevin Durant, arguably the most intriguing free agent on the market is Heat center Hassan Whiteside. The Mavericks and Lakers are already known to have made him a priority in free agency, and he should have several other suitors willing to give him a max deal. Speaking at a 3-on-3 tournament in Miami on Sunday, Whiteside said he doesn’t want to drag out the process, and hopes to decide on a new team on July 1, the first day teams are allowed to talk to free agents.
Via the Associated Press:
The Miami Heat center says he wants to know who his next team is on Friday, the first day of this summer’s NBA free-agent period. Whiteside will have a series of meetings with teams that day, and the NBA’s blocked-shot leader last season wants to decide quickly.
Whiteside says the Heat are one of his options, but that loyalty to Miami won’t factor into his decision.
The fact that Whiteside wants to decide early would seem to make a return to Miami unlikely. The Heat are one of six teams that have reportedly been granted meetings with Durant, and it’s a good bet that he’s going to take several days to decide where he goes. The Heat don’t have full Bird rights on Whiteside, meaning they would have to dip into their cap space to re-sign him. They can’t both sign Durant and keep Whiteside at the kind of salary he’s going to command on the open market, and Durant is obviously the priority.