The contentious relationship between star center Hassan Whiteside and his Miami Heat organization might have been repaired. At the very least, that’s what Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is saying.
“I have absolutely been in touch with Hassan. We’ve gotten together for lunch, in constant contact on the phone and in texts. Like many things in this league, it’s not what it seems on the outside. It’s pretty normal NBA life,” the championship head coach said, via Amico Hoops. “I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that. And we still have a good part of the summer to get better. I think Hassan having an opportunity to start off the season healthy will be a really big boost for us.”
Miami reportedly looked to trade Whiteside and his bloated contract earlier this offseason. But for now, it appears that he’s going to be a fixture in South Beach moving forward.
Whiteside, 29, averaged 14.0 points and 11.4 rebounds for the Heat last season. Though, he fell out of favor late in the regular season and in the playoffs. In fact, Whiteside averaged just 5.2 points in Miami’s first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia.
Having signed a four-year, $98.4 million deal with the team back in July of 2016, Whiteside is owed $52-plus million over the next two seasons.
While Spoelstra might be putting a good spin on the relationship, it’s a relationship of necessity. No team was going to take on that contract after what we saw from the center this past season.