With the Miami Heat struggling at the bottom of the standings, it’s fair to wonder if Pat Riley is actively shopping his best players as the franchise continues rebuilding.
Shopping is one thing and listening to offers is another, and a Heat spokesman made it clear Tuesday night Miami isn’t actively looking to trade it’s $98 million center. But the spokesman also didn’t deny the team isn’t at least listening.
Tuesday’s comments come in response to a report earlier this week from ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who said on his podcast the Heat (11-29) has made every player on the roster available in trade talks and “no one is untouchable, not even Hassan Whiteside.”
Again, not actively looking to trade a player and listening to trade offers are two entirely different concepts. Many teams listen to trade offers and there’s been no evidence to date the Heat want to trade Whiteside.
So, what was Whiteside’s response to Lowe’s report? “Nothing really changes for me,” he said about an hour before tip-off Tuesday night against the Warriors, a game in which he finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds. “Still come in, rebound and dominate like I've been doing. Nothing really changes.
“I never really pay attention to [trade rumors]. If I pay attention to it I wouldn’t be back in the league. There’s all kinds of rumors. A lot of people said a lot of things so I wouldn’t get back in the league. So, I don’t pay it no mind.”
Whiteside said he believes the Heat is committed to winning and believes Riley and the front office will do the best it can this summer to upgrade the roster. Whiteside is leading the league in rebounds (14.4) and is averaging 17.5 points and 2.2 blocks per game. He’s posted 26 double-doubles.
“These guys care about winning and losing,” Whiteside said. “I knew it was going to be a big change when we’ve got nine new guys coming to the team. It’s a whole new team. Those guys they care about winning. It could always be worse.
“I just try to come out here and do the most I can for whatever that is – to try to affect the team in a positive way.”