The last time he signed a contract, Hassan Whiteside became the first player in NBA history to go from a minimum salary one season to a max salary the next season.
Now, he’s going back to a minimum salary – with the Kings.
James Ham of NBC Sports California:
Confirming that Hassan Whiteside has signed a one-year, league minimum deal with Kings.
— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) November 25, 2020
Whiteside returns to Sacramento, which drafted him No. 33 in 2010. It has been a long journey back. Dogged by a reputation for immaturity from his first Kings stint, Whiteside fell way out of the NBA and had to work his way back. He briefly became the Heat’s franchise player then fell out of favor in Miami, getting traded to the Trail Blazers last year.
Whiteside’s per-game numbers (15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks last season) overrate his actual on-court impact. He chases too many blocks, getting out of position defensively. With his athleticism declining at age 31 (especially following injury), he struggles to recover. He doesn’t space the floor offensively. His passing deficiency further hinders offensive flow.
But it’s not as if his production is all empty. He’s a good rebounder who finishes well at the rim. His shooting touch even extends a bit away from the basket. His rim protection can be imposing.
Sacramento needed another center beyond smaller options Richaun Holmes, Marvin Bagley III and Nemanja Bjelica with Alex Len (Raptors) and Harry Giles (Trail Blazers) departing. The Kings are showing patience in building overall, but the 7-foot Whiteside fills a role and comes at a bargain price.
Portland already moved on. Whiteside always looked like a stopgap with Jusuf Nurkic beginning last season injured. Nurkic is healthy, and the Trail Blazers acquired Enes Kanter to back him up. Giles provides even more depth.