NBA

Heat’s Chance Of Keeping Hassan Whiteside Just Got More Complicated

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The Miami Heat have wrapped another successful season that saw them reach the Eastern Conference Semifinals after finishing with the third-best record in the conference. Their attention now immediately shifts toward the offseason where nine players on the roster are expected to become free agents including promising center Hassan Whiteside. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald has reported that the Heat are hoping that the 26-year-old would be willing to drop down from the max contract that he’s seeking in order to stay with the team.

But we’ve repeatedly heard the Heat’s preference is persuading him to sign under the max (projected to be $21.6 million next season) by selling him on the lack of state income tax, his comfort level here, the roster flexibility created by him taking a bit less; and that Miami can offer 7.5 percent annual raises off the first year salary (compared with 4.5 percent elsewhere).

The Heat have several other key players that will be free agents led by Dwyane Wade. The top priority for the front office will undoubtedly be re-signing Wade, who has been the face of the franchise since he earned the league in 2003. Along those same lines, the 12-time All-Star is looking to finally get paid after taking a significant pay cut to bring in other star players such as Chris Bosh and LeBron James.

This will subsequently limit the amount that Miami would be able to pay Whiteside this upcoming summer. It’s a slippery slope that the front office will have to be wary of because if he feels slighted in any way it could quickly go downhill from there. That said, with a master salesman in team president Pat Riley on their side the Heat may be extremely confident that something can be worked out on both sides.

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