Heat Rumors

Poll: Should The Heat Trade Hassan Whiteside?

One season after going 41-41 and missing the playoffs by virtue of a tiebreaker with the Bulls, the Heat improved by three games in 2017/18 and made the playoffs as the No. 6 seed with a record of 44-38.

However, the Heat were faced with a difficult first-round matchup against the red-hot Sixers, who finished the season 16-0 and, just last night, eliminated the Heat from the playoffs in five games. Earlier today, we asked for your thoughts on Miami’s offseason outlook with a Community Shootaround post. Now, we want to know specifically whether you believe the Heat should trade Hassan Whiteside.

With over 20% of the team’s guaranteed salary for next season owed to Whiteside, the Heat dangerously close to the luxury tax in 2018/19, Whiteside’s playing time dwindling dramatically in the later part of the regular season and into the postseason, and Whiteside’s publicly voiced displeasure with his new role, President Pat Riley may need to decide this summer whether Whiteside is worth the headache and, if not, whether he can find a suitable trade partner for the big man.

Unfortunately for the Heat, they do not have a first-round pick this summer to attach to Whiteside’s contract which may make it difficult to entice a team to take on his contract. However, the Heat do have their 2019 first-round selection to deal if they so choose. Regardless, assuming a deal is tenable, what do you think?

If you were Pat Riley, would you trade Hassan Whiteside or would you keep him with the hopes that he can return to his 2016/17 form? Vote below in our poll, then jump into the comment section to share your thoughts.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Winderman's Offseason Review; Will Dwyane Wade Be Back?

  • In a season-ending piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Ira Winderman gives his thoughts and other information on the 17 players who finished the 2017/18 NBA season as members of the Heat – including two-way players Derrick Walton Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr.
  • In another article for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman compares this upcoming offseason to the summer of 2016, when Dwyane Wade left the Heat for Chicago. Ultimately, Winderman believes that unlike two years ago, it’ll be wholly up to Wade as to whether he wants to play in Miami next season, as long as he’s willing to accept a reasonable contract.

Community Shootaround: Heat’s Offseason Outlook

The Heat‘s season came to an end on Tuesday night, with a 104-91 loss in Philadelphia resulting in a 4-1 series win for the Sixers. Now that the 2017/18 campaign is officially in the books, Miami faces an important offseason ahead as the front office looks to find a way to turn the Heat from a solid playoff team into a legit contender.

The big summer decisions figure to start with Hassan Whiteside, Miami’s highest-paid player, who is owed a guaranteed $25MM+ salary in 2018/19 and has a $27MM+ player option for 2019/20. After averaging a career-high 32.6 minutes per game for the Heat in 2016/17, Whiteside saw just 25.3 MPG this season, and that number dipped further in the playoffs — he played only 15.4 MPG against the Sixers. As we relayed earlier today, Whiteside wasn’t thrilled with his declining playing time in the postseason.

“At least give me a chance to fight,” Whiteside said. “I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance. … We played a style of play Coach (Erik Spoelstra) wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that’s why he did it.”

Whiteside’s discontent with his role and the Heat’s success with Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo at center will create an interesting offseason predicament. Can Miami find a worthwhile trade involving Whiteside, or will the team have to find a way to keep him happy next season? For what it’s worth, at least one report suggests the Heat are expected to explore trade scenarios.

With Whiteside’s contract on the books, the Heat are currently carrying more than $116MM in guaranteed salary for 2018/19, making it virtually impossible to land an impact free agent. Considering Pat Riley has repeatedly made an effort to pursue star players in the past, the team’s inflexibility in terms of cap room presents another fascinating hurdle. To truly transform the roster or land an All-Star caliber player, Miami would almost certainly need to do so via trades, likely moving more than just Whiteside.

Tyler Johnson, whose salary jumps to $19MM+ in 2018/19, and Dion Waiters, who is coming off a season-ending ankle injury, would be trade candidates, though neither player will have significant value. In order to maximize their potential return, the Heat will have to be willing to discuss one or more their more valuable pieces, such as Goran Dragic, Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson, Olynyk, and Adebayo.

It also doesn’t help matters that Miami’s best shooter, Wayne Ellington, is an unrestricted free agent. He’s one of a small handful of Heat players eligible for free agency — another is Dwyane Wade, who would probably have to accept another minimum salary deal if he decides he wants to return for another season.

In a piece calling for major offseason roster changes, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald suggests that no Heat player should be untouchable this summer, and notes that Riley is “less likely than ever” to embark on an all-out rebuild. But we want to know what you think.

What’s the best path to contention for the Heat? Is there a realistic trade out there that could raise the club’s ceiling? What should Miami do with Whiteside? Which players on the roster are keepers?

Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts on the offseason outlook for the Heat!

Heat Notes: Whiteside, Wade, Ellington

Hassan Whiteside headed into the offseason last night with one last jab at Heat coach Erik Spoelstra over playing time, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside spent just 10 minutes on the court during the season-ending loss and played 77 total minutes in the five-game series.

“At least give me a chance to fight,” Whiteside said. “I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance. … We played a style of play Coach wanted. He wanted to utilize more spacing I guess in the playoffs, so that’s why he did it.”

Foul trouble played a role in Whiteside’s lack of minutes, Jackson notes, as did matchup concerns with Philadelphia’s smaller lineups, but there’s an apparent feeling from the coaching staff that the Heat are better without Whiteside on the floor. His playing time dropped sharply during the season, going to 25.3 minutes per game after a career high of 32.6 last year.

The 28-year-old center said he will address the matter this summer with Spoelstra and team president Pat Riley. He is under contract for more than $25.4MM next season with a $27.1MM player option for 2019/20, and Jackson states that the Heat are expected to explore trade options.

There’s more from Miami on the first day of the offseason:

  • The Heat are stuck with a roster talented enough to make the playoffs, but not to be a legitimate contender once they get there, Jackson writes in a separate piece. He recommends significant changes, which will have to come through trades because of the team’s cap situation. He says the Heat would prefer to keep Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, but adds that Riley should give the Spurs their choice of any two players on the roster if Kawhi Leonard becomes available.
  • Dwyane Wade is in no rush to make a decision about another NBA season, according to Andre C. Fernandez of The Miami Herald. The 36-year-old played well after returning to Miami in February, including a 28-point performance in Game 2 of the playoff series. “Fresh off the NBA season, my 15th year, I’ll sit back and think about that,” Wade said after Tuesday’s loss. “Then, I’ll dive and throw myself into my family. They’re next on my bucket list of making sure I’m there for them. Then when it comes to the basketball side of it, which is a long time away from now, then I’ll think about that. But right now I ain’t concerned with it.”
  • Wayne Ellington hopes to return to Miami, but financial realities could make that difficult, notes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. The Heat own Early Bird Rights on Ellington as he heads into free agency, allowing them to offer a four-year contract starting at $10.9MM with raises up to 8%. However, Miami is roughly $15MM over next year’s cap, so some salary may have to be trimmed before it makes that kind of commitment to Ellington.

Heat Notes: Wade, Haslem, Winslow

The Heat will head into the offseason with a bevy of question marks after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Sixers.

The franchise lacks the flexibility to add top talent with slightly over $116MM in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2018/19 season. That figure is already over the projected $101MM salary cap and dangerously close to the estimated $123MM luxury tax line.

If Miami is going to make any major changes, it’ll likely come via a trade with Hassan Whiteside coming to mind as a potential trade candidate after the big man was visibly frustrated with his role down the season’s final stretch. The big man is owed approximately $52.4MM over the next two seasons, though he has the option of hitting the market next summer if he so chooses.

Here’s more from Miami:

  • Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade have not made their respective decisions to return to the Heat next season. The pair has long maintained that they’ve wanted to retire together and it’ll be something they discuss this offseason. “We’re going to have a lot of conversations this summer,” Haslam said (via Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald). “So we’ll figure it out.”
  • One of the positives from the Heat’s playoff run is the development of Justise Winslow, as Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel relays. “Justise is doing whatever it takes. This is the moment you want Justise to do well on your team, this is the moment you want him. He’s a guy that has no ego. He’s going to play his heart out,” Wade said.
  • Winslow was fined $15K for stepping on Joel Embiid‘s mask during Game 3, but the Heat never thought the wing’s behavior was a distraction, Winderman passes along in the same piece. “We talked to him about it,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We accept the fine. He accepts it. He’ll pay for it. It doesn’t add a distraction.”

Latest On DeMarcus Cousins

With the Pelicans thriving so far in the postseason without DeMarcus Cousins, ESPN’s Zach Lowe is the latest to look ahead to the big man’s upcoming free agency, exploring just how hard New Orleans will push to re-sign him. While there was once a consensus around the NBA that the small-market Pelicans, not wanting to let Cousins get away, would put a max deal on the table even after his Achilles injury, that’s far less certain now, Lowe writes.

Here are a few updates and notes from Lowe on what could be one of this offseason’s most interesting free agencies:

  • The Pelicans have internally discussed the possibility of offering Cousins a two- or three-year contract worth less than the max, sources tell Lowe. The ESPN.com scribe doesn’t think that sort of offer would go over well with Cousins’ camp, but notes that New Orleans has a good amount of leverage, given the veteran center’s health — not to mention the lack of teams around the NBA with sizable cap room.
  • Sources tell Lowe that most of the teams with max-level cap space aren’t expected to pursue Cousins. Some clubs are worried about his “baggage,” and he wouldn’t make much sense for a rebuilding team, since it will likely take him a full season to recover from his Achilles tear.
  • Lowe identifies the Lakers and Mavericks as two wild cards for Cousins. However, he notes that the Lakers could use their cap room to land other stars or roll it over to 2019. As for the Mavs, if they go hard after a restricted free agent like Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon, they probably wouldn’t be in the mix for Cousins.
  • The Wizards, Trail Blazers, Clippers, Raptors, Bucks, and Heat are a few of the teams Lowe mentions as possible landing spots if the Pelicans want to sign-and-trade Cousins, but he acknowledges that none would be a perfect match — and some are extreme long shots.
  • With a four- or five-year max offer for Cousins seemingly unlikely, Lowe speculates that a third year could be the “inflection point” in the bidding for the All-Star big man. If one team is willing to do a fully or partially guaranteed third year, while another club wants to do a deal more like Paul Millsap‘s with the Nuggets (where the third year is a team option), that could be the difference, Lowe writes.

Heat Notes: Wade, Whiteside, J. Richardson, Winslow

Dwyane Wade has provided countless thrills for fans at AmericanAirlines Arena over the years, but the last ones may have come this afternoon, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Wade turned in a vintage performance with 25 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep Miami from suffering a 106-102 loss to the Sixers and falling into a 3-1 hole in the series.

“I don’t want to answer that right now,” Wade said when asked if he thought today might mark his final appearance on Miami’s home court. “I’ve got another game to play. I’m focused on the next game.”

Wade’s playoff performance has been the high point of his return to Miami after a trade from Cleveland in early February. He hasn’t publicly addressed the idea of retirement, but he turned 36 in January and isn’t signed beyond this season.

There’s more news to pass along from Miami:

  • The Heat came into today’s game looking to give Hassan Whiteside a greater role in the offense, writes Shandel Richardson of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside had averaged just 13.3 minutes during the first three games of the series and his production was limited to 3.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per night. He got 26 minutes today and responded with 13 points and 13 rebounds. “Coach gave me some minutes out there and I tried to make the most any time I got,” said Whiteside, who complained about reduced playing time last month. “Coach said no regrets.”
  • There were reports that Heat guard Josh Richardson sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder, but the team is classifying it as a contusion, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Richardson, who set a franchise record with seven steals during the game, said his shoulder was hurting afterward. “Just trying to be active,” he told Jackson, “trying to put my fingerprints on the game.”
  • Justise Winslow was fined $15K for stepping on Joel Embiid‘s facemask during Game 3, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. The act occurred in the second quarter when the mask was on the court. “He kept throwing [his mask] on the ground. I don’t know if he didn’t like it or what,” Winslow said. “I was talking to JoJo, we were smack-talking, trash-talking, going back and forth, but no love loss.” Embiid laughed off the incident, saying he has “about 50” masks available.

Wade: I Will Either Retire Or Return To Heat

Dwyane Wade provided the basketball world with a flashback performance as he dropped 28 points for the Heat in a Game 2 victory over the Sixers. The 36-year-old’s career is winding down and there is no clear sense whether this season is his last. But if he decides to return next season, it will only be for the Heat, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne writes.

Wade has spent nearly his entire career in Miami, save for one year with the Bulls in 2016/17 and the first half of this season with the Cavaliers. Wade said he felt like he needed his experiences with those organizations to greater appreciate Miami and the Heat organization. The three-time NBA champion said he will decide this offseason whether he will retire or return to the Heat.

  • Heat guard Wayne Ellington has been a solid contributor off the bench this season, averaging 11.2 PPG. A veteran NBA scout tells Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald that the 30-year-old is a good candidate for a mid-level exception this offseason. “I could see him getting the mid-level. Can shoot, quality guy, has gotten better,” the scout said.

Community Shootaround: Possible First-Round Upsets

Game 1 is in the books for all eight of the NBA’s first-round playoff matchups, and several of those games set up potentially fascinating series. Six of the eight higher seeds held their home-court advantage in the first game, but some of those favorites looked a little shaky in their victories, leading to plenty of speculation about first-round upsets.

We’ll start with the weekend’s biggest upset, which took place in Cleveland, where the Pacers dismantled LeBron James and the Cavaliers in Game 1. It won’t be a surprise if the Cavs eventually pull out this series, but their 98-80 loss on Sunday was something we haven’t seen since James returned to Cleveland in 2014. In their last three first-round series, the Cavs have swept the Celtics, Pistons, and – one year ago – the Pacers.

Of course, these Pacers are a much different team than the squad swept out of the postseason a year ago. Victor Oladipo looked like the best player on the floor on Sunday, and players like Myles Turner, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Lance Stephenson looked great in supporting roles. This Pacers team was overlooked and underappreciated all season, and appear poised to give the Cavs all they can handle in round one.

The other Game 1 upset occurred in Portland, where the Pelicans edged out a two-point win over the Trail Blazers. Anthony Davis (35 points, 14 rebounds) was the best player on the court in that game, but Jrue Holiday‘s impact shouldn’t be understated. Besides posting 21 points and seven assists, Holiday also locked up Damian Lillard on the other end of the court — Lillard made just six of 23 shots.

The Pelicans don’t have a whole lot of standout talent behind Davis and Holiday, but Nikola Mirotic (16 points, 11 rebounds) stepped up as a reliable third option on Saturday. If he – or another Pelican – can continue to support Davis and Holiday throughout the series, New Orleans should have a chance.

Elsewhere, the Raptors, Rockets, and Thunder had to battle to the end to hold off the Wizards, Timberwolves, and Jazz, respectively, but came away with Game 1 victories. The Bucks pushed the Celtics to overtime before losing Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo to foul problems and ultimately losing the game. None of those four favorites is a mortal lock to advance, though Houston is probably close.

The Warriors and Sixers took care of business with comfortable wins over the Spurs and Heat, respectively.

What do you think? Will we see an upset – or multiple upsets – in the first round of the postseason? Which lower-seeded teams do you think look like the best bets to advance to round two?

Head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Heat Notes: Whiteside, McGruder, Draft Pick

After lashing out at coach Erik Spoelstra two weeks ago over a lack of playing time, Heat center Hassan Whiteside isn’t finding his situation any better in the playoffs, writes Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Whiteside was on the court for just 12:26 in the Game 1 loss at Philadelphia, even though the Sixers were missing injured center Joel Embiid. Whiteside played just four minutes in the second half and didn’t return after being replaced early in the third quarter.

“I think coach wanted some change,” said Whiteside, who was fined for his earlier comments. “[Kelly Olynyk] was playing well. Of course, I would love to be out there rebounding and blocking shots and be out there with my teammates. But I think K.O. was playing well, so coach just wanted to get him out there.”

Saturday’s benching may or may not be an indication that the Heat have moved on from Whiteside, but it continues a season-long trend in which his minutes per game have fallen to 25.3 after a career-high 32.6 last season. Olynyk, a free agent addition, and rookie Bam Adebayo have performed well at center and Whiteside has Miami’s most expensive contract. He is signed for more than $25.4MM next season with a player option worth $27MM for 2019/20.

There’s more this morning out of Miami:

  • The Heat and Whiteside seemed to quit on each other last night, observes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman states that the organization made an error in not assigning someone to help Whiteside stay focused after giving him a four-year, $98MM contract in 2016. He contends a “blueprint of motivation” should have been created for Whiteside, whether it was by Spoelstra, assistant coach Juwan Howard, team president Pat Riley or chief executive officer Nick Arison.
  • Spoelstra should have given Rodney McGruder more than two minutes in Game 1, Winderman adds in the same story. McGruder missed most of this season after surgery in October for a left tibia stress fracture, but played a key role in last year’s stretch drive.
  • The Heat will only have to part with a mid-level first-rounder this summer as part of the payment for Goran Dragic, Winderman writes in another piece. Miami finished with the 16th pick in this year’s draft, which Winderman notes often produces journeyman players. The Heat’s roster is already stocked with youth, so surrendering the pick shouldn’t do much to affect the future. The team still owes the Suns an unprotected first-round selection in 2021.