Barry Jackson

Whiteside takes another dig at Heat as internal frustration with him grows

The Heat's Hassan Whiteside, center, reacts as Philadelphia leads with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the first-round playoff game between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers, at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
The Heat's Hassan Whiteside, center, reacts as Philadelphia leads with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter of Game 4 of the first-round playoff game between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers, at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, April 21, 2018.

Center Hassan Whiteside leveled his latest dig against the Heat this week, suggesting on Instagram that he’s not permitted to take perimeter shots.

Meanwhile, there is strong sentiment inside the Heat organization to move on from Whiteside and the Heat is expected to explore trades involving him this offseason, according to multiple sources.

This week’s video marked at least the fifth time in recent months that Whiteside has either complained or expressed some level of dissatisfaction about how the Heat handles him – which is one but not the only factor contributing to internal sentiment toward moving on from him this summer, if a viable trade opportunity arises.

But the Heat might have difficulty trading him, considering he’s coming off a disappointing season and due $24.4 million and $27.1 million in the final two years of his contract.

Most of Whiteside’s complaints in recent months concerned playing time, including an expletive-filled rant that drew a substantial fine from the Heat in late March.

In his latest video, Whiteside is seen sinking a long jump shot.

"You don’t know I got this jumper,” he said in the video. “There’s a difference between you can’t shoot and you’re not allowed [to shoot].”

The Heat declined to comment on the video.

For perspective, Whiteside attempted 10.7 shots per game this season, which tied with Brook Lopez for 11th among centers, ahead of Dirk Nowitzki, Myles Turner, Clint Capela and Steven Adams, among others.

He took 47 shots from 16 feet to the three-point line, connecting on 19 of them (40.4 percent) and made both his three-point attempts.

Whiteside, who averaged 14 points and 11.4 rebounds in 54 games this season, criticized his lack of playing time in his most recent interview, in the moments following the Heat’s season-ending Game 5 playoff loss in Philadelphia on April 24.

Whiteside played only 10 minutes in that game and finished the series with 77 minutes in five games, just 15.4 minutes per game. He closed with just 26 points, 30 rebounds and six blocks, combined with 12 turnovers, in the five games.

His limited minutes were partly the byproduct of foul trouble, partly the byproduct of Philadelphia playing some lineups without a natural center, and partly from the apparent conclusion of this coaching staff that the team is often better playing without him.

Asked what most frustrated him from a team perspective, Whiteside cited his own issues with playing time.

"Not being out there,” he said. “Not being out there. At least give me a chance to fight. At least give me a chance to fight. 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."

Asked if he planned to discuss his situation with Heat president Pat Riley and Spoelstra, Whiteside said: "It's definitely something you can discuss with those guys.”

Whiteside’s average minutes per game dropped from 32.6 last season to 25.3 this season.

The Heat was outscored by 75 points with Whiteside on the court during the regular season (second worst on the team behind Dion Waiters) and by 26 points with Whiteside on the court during this playoff series, including minus 14 in Game 5.

Riley said after the season that he would be willing to intervene to try to solve any disconnect between Spoelstra and Whiteside.

"There has to be an intervention and I'm going to be the intervener,” Riley said. “That's real…. There's no doubt he was in a bad state in the playoffs. Whatever the reasons why, I have not really sat down with Spo and really talked about all of these things. Hassan was less-than, without a doubt, in the playoffs.

"I'm not going to give him any kind of excuse. But the season started with an injury and all year long there was a dilemma [knee, hip] of some kind. You deal with that as players at times."

"By the time we got to the playoffs, I don't think he was ready," Riley said. "He wasn't ready. He wasn't in great shape. He wasn't fully conditioned for a playoff battle mentally. He and we got our heads handed to us.

"The disconnect between he and Spo, that's going to take a discussion between them and it's going to take thought on the part of Coach and also Hassan. How will Hassan transform his thinking -- 99 percent of it -- to get the kind of improvement that Spo wants so he can be effective?

"How can Spo transform his thinking when it comes to offense and defense or minutes or whatever? However he uses him, that's what you do. We go through this almost every year with players. There's always a disagreement, a change in philosophy or whatever it is."

Riley said it’s Whiteside’s responsibility to adjust to changes in the NBA, which has moved more toward undersized versatile lineups and away from the traditional center.

"I have the same problem with Hassan," Riley said. "That problem is that he's going to have to do something to change because he's a helluva player. You've got [Steven] Adams. You've got [Clint] Capela. You got Jonas Valanciunas. You got DeAndre Jordan. You've got [Andre] Drummond. You've got Hassan. You've got these quintessential sort of centers that are being forced to play a certain game because the game has changed and there's only one or two or three teams that can play that game, because three or four transformative players that can make that game effective. So, how do we make him effective?

"That's what it is. How does he make himself effective? To do the things he needs to do -- defend, rebound, shot blocking, all of those things that he did that we fell in love with the first year, second year? He had a bad year this year. He's got to come back strong next year. I'm going to try to help him as much as I can. I'm going to try to help the both of them so we can keep him on the court 30 minutes a game. But he's got to help himself."

Whiteside could return next season if the Heat is unable to find a willing trade partner. But that is not the preference of many inside the organization.

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