Erik Spoelstra on Hassan Whiteside’s comments, fine: “We’re here to help Hassan”

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Hassan Whiteside did a bad thing. After sitting in the fourth quarter against the Brooklyn Nets last week, Whiteside complained and suggested that he might be better suited on another team other than the Miami Heat.

You can’t do that.

The team quickly announced that Whiteside had been fined, and that they had handled the matter internally. On Monday, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra gave his comments on the matter, saying that he felt it was mostly a learning opportunity for the 28-year-old big man.

Whiteside, a former D-League and Chinese league player, found his stride in the NBA in recent years and signed a big contract with Miami in 2016.

Via the Miami Herald:

“We’ve already handled it within the team,” Spoelstra said. “Hassan has been fined. It’s poor timing, poor judgment on his part. It’s not the first time a player has gone through frustration right after a game. That’s why I’ve always said after the game guys should just take a shower, cool off, maybe do a little bit of media and then really have a better, coherent response to whatever happened during the course of the game the next day — all of us.

“But, we’re here to help Hassan. He’s going to be just fine. We’re going to help him continue to learn how to be a better professional, how to be a better leader in this locker room, how to be a better teammate and ultimately how to be a better winner. He’s been taking those steps. The team, we handled it before practice, it’s behind us now. The only thing that’s on all of our minds right now is we’ve got to get the next win, you know, to secure this thing and then move on from there and see if we can still move forward in the standings.”

Whiteside has been known to be hot-headed, and Spoelstra is a great reference point for him as a learning tool. Still, it’s hard to tell whether players will respond well when a team strategy — like the small ball employed by Miami late in games this year — makes guys feel as though they are being discounted.

We’ll have to keep our eye on how Whiteside responds if and when Spoelstra sits him again.