Hassan Whiteside not ready to commit to Heat

By Jesse Reed

Soon to be NBA free agent Hassan Whiteside appears to be warming to the idea of signing with a team not named the Miami Heat.

Speaking with media on Sunday, the 27-year-old center wouldn’t commit to Miami and is keeping his options wide open.

While the state of Florida, with its lack of state tax, is an attraction to any young millionaire, Whiteside made an interesting point about why Miami might not have a big leg up over other teams in this regard.

He did reveal that he hopes his mind is already made up when he and the rest of the free agents become officially available on the open market on July 1. He also hopes it’s an easy decision.

Not likely.

Perhaps the reported news that the Los Angeles Lakers plan on making Whiteside a primary free-agent target this summer (more here) have him thinking about a switch from the east coast to the west.

Another intriguing option would be the Golden State Warriors, who also reportedly have the center on their radar. The Dallas Mavericks have also reportedly made him a target, though we’re not sure they have as much of a shot to land the coveted free agent.

Despite Pat Riley’s proclamation that the Heat have made Whiteside their No. 1 priority, it seems likely that he could bolt for greener pastures now that his value is peaking. The fit in Los Angeles is likely very intriguing, as is the idea of playing for the repeat Western Conference champs.

As the opening of free agency creeps closer, we’re likely to hear about other contenders who will be trying to land him as well. Once a guy nobody knew about, he’s about to land a max deal, and he can pretty much write his own ticket at this point, given the amount of money most teams have to spend.