Riley says Heat have not offered Whiteside in any trade talk; adds center and Spoelstra making ‘movement’ on relationship

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and center Hassan Whiteside. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

MIAMI – While Pat Riley said “there has been movement” on that intervention between coach Erik Spoelstra and center Hassan Whiteside, he added that the Heat have not been focused on trading Whiteside.

Whiteside has been the subject of speculation that the Heat are looking to move the underachieving center, and team’s highest paid player.

“I expect a lot of out Hassan,” Riley said early Friday morning while talking to reporters following Thursday’s draft.

“Contrary to what people might think about us trading him, we haven’t offered him to anybody really, to be honest with you.”

Whiteside is owed $52.5 million the next two seasons, the final two of a four-year, $98.4 million max contract he signed two summers ago. His production has declined, bottoming out in the playoffs when he averaged 5.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in just 15.4 minutes per game during the Heat’s 4-1 series loss to the 76ers in the opening round.

“You go through an emotional period with a player and you deal with it and you come back and you work things out,” Riley said. “I’ve been through this for 50 years.”

Riley then compared the situation to his relationship with his wife, Chris.

“This is like walking into my house and Chris yelling and screaming at me and I don’t talk to her for two weeks and we get together and carry on for another four years.”

Spoelstra has frequently become frustrated with Whiteside during Whiteside’s four seasons in Miami, unhappy when his lack of maturity would spill over onto the court. That relationship appeared to fracture last season as Whiteside’s playing time decreased, especially in the fourth quarters when Spoelstra would sometimes go small, often playing Kelly Olynyk – whose skills and versatility fit the NBA game nowadays better than Whiteside’s low-post, back-to-the-basket style – while leaving Whiteside on the bench.

That caused Whiteside to complain about his lack of playing time and his involvement in the offense. That frustration peaked in March when the Heat fined their center for a profanity-laced rant about his lack of playing time. Whiteside then expressed his dissatisfaction about how he was being used by Spoelstra following the postseason.

Riley said, following the season, Spoelstra and Whiteside needed an “intervention” and he would be the one to facilitate the meeting.

“Two months ago I said that and there has been movement,” Riley said early Friday morning. “I think you need to let a season sort of end and then you need to let how the season ended, which was on a negative note, not just from our players, they were disappointed, our coaches were disappointed. Anytime you lose in the first round there’s a lot of emotion. Whatever happened then was two months ago, you move on and you make the best of it. I think that’s where we are right now.”

[2018 NBA draft: Pat Riley said Heat had opportunities to trade into draft but ‘passed’]

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