Barry Jackson

Miami Heat fines Whiteside for expletive-filled rant

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside talks with Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside talks with Heat assistant coach Juwan Howard during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, March 31, 2018. dsantiago@miamiherald.com

The Miami Heat on Sunday fined Hassan Whiteside for his expletive-filled rant Saturday in which he complained about his diminished playing time this season.

The amount of the fine was not announced. The basis of the fine, according to the Heat, was that his comments were detrimental to the team.

Whiteside will not be suspended and is expected to be at practice on Monday, in advance of Tuesday’s home game against Atlanta.

The team had the day off Sunday.

The team had no further comment, and Whiteside’s agent Sean Kennedy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the wake of a 110-109 overtime loss to the Brooklyn Nets, Whiteside criticized Heat coaches for often benching him late in games when the opponent plays a small lineup.

Whiteside played just 20 of a possible 53 minutes Saturday and didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter or overtime.

He has missed 28 games because of injury this season and is averaging 25.4 minutes per game this season, down from 29.1 and 32.6 minutes per game the previous two seasons.

Asked how tough it is to watch from the bench when the opponent goes small, Whiteside said: “It’s annoying. We shouldn’t. Why are we matching up? We’ve got one of the best centers in the league. Why are we matching up?

“A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They are going to use their strengths. It’s bull [expletive]. It’s really bull [expletive], man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center. [Expletive]. That’s one of them. That’s bull [expletive].”

Asked if he tried to discuss it with one of the coaches during the game, Whiteside said: “I don’t know if it’s because I’m on a minutes restriction. The minutes have been like that all year. It’s really frustrating. It’s been frustrating. It’s tough. I don’t know, man. It’s crazy. I don’t understand it.”

Asked if this has made him question his future with the Heat, Whiteside said: “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Whiteside - who had 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks Saturday - then was asked who he should take that up with - management, the coaching staff or his agent.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”

A Heat public relations official then ended the interview.

Whiteside, playing his second game back after missing nine with a strained hip flexor, began the brief postgame interview calmly.

Asked if removed himself from the game just 4:40 into the first quarter because he was winded, Whiteside said: “You’ve got to build your conditioning backup. Coach wanted me to sub myself out as soon as I felt really winded.”

Coach Erik Spoelstra, who spoke before Whiteside’s rant, said Whiteside is rebuilding his stamina after the absence.

“It will get better,” Spoelstra said.

The Heat was puzzled by Whiteside’s reaction because he’s still not in optimum playing condition after missing nine games and it was Whiteside who initiated his removal from the game in the first quarter because he was winded.

Also, the Nets for most of overtime played a lineup featuring all wing players between 6-6 and 6-9: Alan Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Caris LeVert and Joe Harris.

The Heat countered in overtime with versatile defenders James Johnson (who had scored 12 of his 18 in the fourth quarter), Justise Winslow, who has been playing well for several weeks; Josh Richardson (the team’s best perimeter defender); Goran Dragic and a combination of Tyler Johnson and Dwyane Wade.

The Heat’s position is that it’s all about the team and it’s not in the habit of catering to individual player wishes about playing time.

Nevertheless, the Heat does not expect this matter to linger.

But with two years and $51 million left on his contract, Whiteside’s future could become an issue this offseason.

A source said Sunday that Whiteside likes South Florida and would like to remain with the Heat but obviously wants to play more.

• The Heat’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth remained at one on Sunday afternoon.

A Pistons loss at Brooklyn in a 6 p.m. Sunday game would clinch a playoff berth for Miami. So would a Heat win on Tuesday against Atlanta.

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