MIAMI – Time for another Miami Heat mailbag.
If you were not able to ask a question this time, send them along for future mailbags via Twitter to @tomdangelo44 and @Anthony_Chiang. You can also e-mail me at email@example.com.
From @mr_twopercent22: Do you think Bam’s surprising play this season and continuing progress make moving on from Whiteside a possibility this summer? Or more likely next season at some point?
The Heat reportedly were listening to offers on Whiteside at the trade deadline early this month and almost certainly will continue to listen this summer.
Whiteside became Miami’s highest paid player two summers ago when he signed a max deal for four years and $98 million and after a nice start to that contract last season he has regressed. He is averaging 14.2 points and 11.9 rebounds while shooting 55 percent, numbers nearly identical to two years ago except he shot better than 50 percent in 2015-16. He has not lived up to his contract this season and coach Erik Spoelstra has shown he does not always trust Whiteside during the critical parts of a game, sitting him for the entire fourth quarter an astounding 14 of the 39 games Whiteside has played.
And the Heat are very happy with Bam Adebayo’s progress. The 14th overall pick out of Kentucky is averaging 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in just 20. 6 minutes. He is shooting 54.2 percent. But it isn’t just Adebayo’s play that could make Whiteside expendable. Kelly Olynyk has been a pleasant surprise since signing a free agent contract this summer and has shown he, too, can be productive in the middle or playing power forward.
Trading Whiteside could be difficult considering he is due to make $25.4 million next season and $27.1 million the final year of his deal (2019-20). But trading a big contract is much easier in the summer when salaries expire and team’s fall under the cap than during the season when most teams are above the cap. The free agent market is not very strong this summer so perhaps somebody will want to take a chance on Whiteside.
Miami will not give him away, but they will listen and if the right deal comes along I expect they would pull the trigger.
From @pdavila73: Will D Wade make a significant difference going forward down the stretch for the Heat?
The game in Philadelphia just before the All-Star break gave us a glimpse as to how much the Heat believe Wade can help. He took two shots in the final minute and although neither went in his potential game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer was as good a look as you can get and appeared true from the time it left his hand only to hit the front rim, backboard, rim again and bounce out.
Wade was having a nice year coming off the bench in Cleveland, averaging 11.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 points while shooting 45.5 percent in 23.2 minutes per game. He’s had a slow start transitioning back to the Heat but should get better as he becomes more comfortable with his new teammates. We saw that last week as he looked more in the flow in Toronto and Philadelphia – despite not shooting well – than he did in his first game back against Milwaukee. Wade should help, not only on the court but off the court. The question is will it be enough to propel the Heat into the playoffs, and if so, for Miami to make any kind of run in the postseason.