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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Mailbag: Would Heat give up all young talent for Kawhi Leonard without guarantee? That & more on Grizzlies rumors, possible draft day deal

San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard reacts after a basket against the Memphis Grizzlies during the 2017 playoffs. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

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 tdangelo@pbpost.com.

From @TheSpencerG: If Heat were to get Kawhi how do we stay competitive w/o giving up too much?

Several questions about the possibility of trading for San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, as you would expect. A couple centered on the price to acquire one of the top five players and arguably best two-way player in the league when healthy.

Everything has been speculation but the most widely reported deal when it comes to the Heat is Miami sending Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo to San Antonio for Leonard and Patty Mills. With Leonard set to make $20.1 million and Mills $11.6 million, this deal would work. But what becomes the real gamble, even if both sides agree, is Leonard can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next season.

Without a guarantee from Leonard, it’s unlikely the Heat makes this move and gives up their three most valued young assets and the foundation of the future. Even if Miami believed it had a chance to retain Leonard and sign him to a long-term deal, that would have to be predicated on Leonard liking what he sees during the season and believing the Heat are on the cusp of contending. But with a nucleus of Leonard, Mills, Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk, Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, Dwyane Wade (if he returns), and Wayne Ellington (if he re-signs) just how good is this team?

Without some kind of assurance from Leonard, the Heat would have a difficult time pulling the trigger on this deal. But if Miami could get Leonard to commit (and, yes, that still comes with a bit of a gamble), it’s a deal the Heat definitely will think seriously about making.

From @Shadow_Knight3: Should Heat try to take a chance at Parsons which includes the 4th pick of the Draft.

Before answering this question let me say that nothing has been reported of talks between the Heat and Grizzlies. But a variation of one trade has been speculated so we’ll address it.

Memphis reportedly is so desperate to dump Chandler Parsons that they are willing to attach the No. 4 overall pick to a deal. A high price and one that is hard to believe depending on the return. Chandler, a 6-foot-9 small forward, was one of the worst signings of the summer of 2016 (and there were plenty) when Memphis gave him a four-year maximum contract worth $94.8 million. If the numbers sound familiar they should because it’s very close to the deal the Heat gave Whiteside that same summer.

The Parsons signing has been more disastrous for Memphis than the Whiteside signing has been for the Heat. He has played in just 70 games the last two seasons and is averaging 7.1 points,  2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists while shooting 40.1 percent.

But just how desperate are the Grizzlies to dump that salary and could the Heat jump in to try to steal that pick? The more likely deal would be Parsons for Whiteside straight up. Two bad contracts traded for each other. The other big issue is then what does Memphis do with Marc Gasol, another bad contract, who is due to make 49.7 the next two seasons? And how would that help the Heat? As difficult as it was to watch Whiteside during the playoffs, he has given the Heat much more in the last two seasons than Parson has given the Grizzlies and that would solve nothing when it comes to the Heat’s salary cap situation.

Which means anyone who believes the Grizzlies would take Whiteside’s contract for Parsons and the No. 4 pick is delusional. Memphis is looking to dump a bad contract and does not want one in return. But let’s play along and say Memphis is that desperate, do the Heat have what the Grizzlies want to make the deal? The deal certainly could have to include some combination of Richardson, Winslow and Adebayo. But it is enough for Memphis to give up the chance of drafting Luca Doncic or Jaren Jackson Jr., or Mohamed Bamba or Michael Porter? And do the Heat believe a transformative player will be around at No. 4?

From @GajjarRahi: Who’s your starting SF in the future? Justice or Jrich?

A lot depends on the makeup of the roster but if both players are a part of the future, the Heat would ideally like to see Richardson at shooting guard and Winslow at small forward. But that is a big if with both being valuable trade assets and the Heat looking to upgrade the roster.

From @jphillips19915 Jun 17: Will we make a move Thursday night?

Oh yeah, there is a draft Thursday. Anything is possible as we discussed above with the reports concerning the Grizzlies, but the most likely scenario is Miami possibly obtaining a second-round pick. The tricky part is unless it is for a player, the deal could not be announced until July 1, which is when the Heat would have the money to trade for a pick in the second round.

[Udonis Haslem on LeBron James’ visit to Miami during playoffs: ‘We sat down to eat, is that a crime?’]

[Possible NBA draft rule change could prove costly for Heat]

[The Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes is on. Should the Heat enter the mix?]

[Mailbag: Is there even a realistic way for the Heat to acquire LeBron James?]

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Here’s how Pat Riley defended the roster decisions the Heat made last summer

Miami Heat President Pat Riley talks with the media at a season-end press conference on Monday, April 30, 2018 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. (Charles Trainor III/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — The Heat enter the offseason with very little financial flexibility to make significant changes.

Decisions over the past two years have helped put Miami in this position. Signing Dion Waiters, James Johnson, Kelly Olynyk and Josh Richardson to four-year deals that combine to cost them $200 million last summer, and investing $98 million in Hassan Whiteside and $50 million in Tyler Johnson the previous summer has left the Heat with very little wiggle room to make changes to their roster. Continue reading “Here’s how Pat Riley defended the roster decisions the Heat made last summer”

Heat Mailbag: Is the Brightline station mural a message to Whiteside? That & more on Richardson

The Miami Heat mural at the new Brightline station in downtown Miami. (Mark Bradley / The Palm Beach Post)

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 tdangelo@pbpost.com.

    From Thomas, Boca Raton: I noticed the Heat’s advertisement at the new Brightline station in Miami has a picture of Bam and not Whiteside. Can we read into this?

The Heat have done a great job teaming up with Brightline and marketing the MiamiCentral station, which is blocks from AmericanAirlines Arena. The grand opening last month certainly had a Heat theme with Udonis Haslem making an appearance – Haslem also has a personal stake with his company opening an Einstein Bros. Bagel and Starbucks in the station – and the unveiling of the mural, which is an ad for season tickets and reads: “CUT THROUGH TRAFFIC, FINISH AT THE RIM.”

On the left, to illustrate “cut through traffic,” the picture is of Goran Dragic driving to the basket. On the right, to depict the “finish at rim” portion of the slogan is Bam Adebayo – and not Hassan Whiteside – soaring high above the rim for a dunk.

Are the Heat sending a message? Probably not. Could they just be covering themselves in case of a trade? Or perhaps it just happened to be the best picture to fit the narrative of the ad.

Everybody, including Whiteside, knows the Heat are not happy with their $98 million center and although nothing has been confirmed by the Heat all signs point to Miami actively looking to trade the 29-year-old center this offseason, which will not be easy considering his contract that has two years and $52.5 million remaining, declining production and immaturity. As for Bam, the Heat are very encouraged by what they saw in his rookie season and whether Whiteside is moved or not, the Heat see him as their center of the future.

    From Chris, Fort Lauderdale: I know Riley said nobody is untouchable but would the Heat really trade Josh Richardson?

Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are open for business and yes, everybody on the roster is in play. But obviously, some have a far greater chance of being traded than others. Richardson, 24, is coming off his best season in which he started in all 81 games that he played and he starts a team-friendly deal – four years, $42 million – this upcoming season. Sure, Richardson could be moved but it would have to be a blockbuster and net the Heat an All-Star in return. Miami will not add Richardson, a valuable wing player who also is among the best defenders in the league, just as a sweetener to dump a large contract without receiving anything of significance in return.

[Heat Mailbag: Does LeBron James look like a man who is ready to bolt Cleveland again? That & more on Whiteside, the draft]

[Heat offseason Q&A: Udonis Haslem not going to rush decision on his future]

[Heat offseason Q&A: Kelly Olynyk from India on Basketball Without Borders, his offseason & more]

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Heat center Hassan Whiteside to play in NBA Africa Game

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) reacts to a play during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — Hassan Whiteside’s offseason will include a trip to Africa.

The Heat’s center will play for Team World in the NBA Africa Game on Aug. 4 in Pretoria, South Africa. Coach Erik Spoelstra represented the Heat in Africa last year as part of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program. Continue reading “Heat center Hassan Whiteside to play in NBA Africa Game”

Mailbag: Do Heat really have a chance in the LeBron James free agency sweepstakes?

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during Game Seven of the 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on May 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com. Continue reading “Mailbag: Do Heat really have a chance in the LeBron James free agency sweepstakes?”

Watch Hassan Whiteside take another shot at Erik Spoelstra, Heat on social media post

 

Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson and Bam Adebayo react during Philadelphia’s first-round Playoff victory over the Heat. (Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS).

Pat Riley may want to get started on that intervention he promised to hold between coach Erik Spoelstra and Hassan Whiteside.

Whiteside, the Heat’s 7-foot center, took another shot at his coach, this time in a video he posted on Instagram. Whiteside is shooting in what looks like a high school gym. At one point, he says “you don’t know I got the jumper.” He then launches the ball from above where the NBA 3-point line would be and turns to the camera before it even goes through the hoop.

“There’s a difference between you can’t shoot and not allowed,” he said.

Whiteside’s frustration has surfaced several times this season, griping about everything from playing time, to shots. Whiteside has always believed he has the perimeter game to be more than a back-to-the-basket center.

Whiteside, who turns 29 next month, averaged 25.3 minutes and 10.7 shots this past season, down from his career highs of 32.6 minutes and 12.7 shots in 2016-17.

Of his 578 field goal attempts, 284 were from the restricted area and another 190 were in the paint. That left 102 from midrange and two 3-pointers, of which he made both.

Of those from midrange, Whiteside took 47 shots from 16 to 24 feet, making 19.

Whiteside’s public complaining got tiresome to the Heat long ago and the organization thought it was sending their $98 million man a message in early April when he was fined an undisclosed amount for comments detrimental to the team after a profanity-laced outburst about Spoelstra’s decision to match up when teams go small, keeping Whiteside on the bench.

But Whiteside did not get the message. As his playing time decreased – he averaged 15.4 minutes in Miami’s five-game series loss to Philadelphia – Whiteside got more frustrated. He lashed out after Game 3 saying “coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks,” and again after the Heat were eliminated and he was asked what was most frustrating for the team in this series.

Whiteside, who averaged 5.2 points and 6.0 rebounds in the series, made it about himself.

“Not being out there,” he said. “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.”

The Heat certainly will attempt to trade Whiteside this summer but his contract, which has two years, $52.5 million remaining, could make that difficult. Miami would be stuck taking back somebody else’s disgruntled player and probably another bad contract while possibly even throwing in one of its younger players to sweeten the deal.

Spoelstra went easy on Whiteside during his season-ending news conference, saying he thought the narrative and story lines about the center were “unfair” and adding: “I love working with Hassan.”

Riley, though, said there was a disconnect between Spoelstra and Whiteside.

“There has to be an intervention and I’m going to be the intervener,” he said.

Riley then said he did not think Whiteside was ready for the playoffs physically or mentally. Whiteside had missed nine games in March because of a hip injury.

“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.

“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. I have the same problem with Hassan. That problem is that he’s going to have to do something to change because he’s a helluva player.”

[Despite impressive numbers and push from Heat, Josh Richardson left off NBA All-Defensive teams]

[Would Shane Battier really leave the Heat to take front office job with the Pistons?]

[Heat president Pat Riley says he’s ‘not a draft pick guy.’ What does he mean by that?]

[Heat’s Bam Adebayo misses out on All-Rookie second team by one vote]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

What would it take for Heat to get into conversation for Andrew Wiggins or Karl-Anthony Towns?

Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game last season against the LA Clippers at the Staples Center. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Timberwolves advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years after adding an All-Star in Jimmy Butler and a handful of other veterans to go along with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

But despite topping .500 (47-35) for the first time since 2004-05, there are rumblings of uneasiness within the organization. Now it’s up to coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau to soothe over feelings and improve the roster after the Wolves lost in five games to the Rockets in the first round of the playoffs.

Most of the trade rumors center around 23-year old Andrew Wiggins, who was given a $146.5 million max extension last October that goes into effect this upcoming season. Now, the Wolves may be looking to get out from that deal and a trade is the only way.

Here is where the Miami Heat come in.

Miami, as we know, has its share of bad deals but none are as long as Wiggins’, whose contract is for five years. He starts at more than $25 million next season and will be making more than $33 million in 2022-23.

But Wiggins, a 6-foot-8, small forward, never has been an All-Star and his production dipped sharply last season, going from 23.6 points per game on .452 shooting in 2016-17 to 17.7 points on .438 shooting. Now, Minnesota may be looking to unload him.

Like the Heat, the Timberwolves are capped out, so are they looking to create space or get equal value in return? This is the same question being asked of the Heat when it comes to Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson, two players who will account for $44.6 million next season.

The Heat would have some leverage because they’d be assuming a lot more in total salary if they were to acquire Wiggins and either Whiteside (two years remaining at $52.5 million) or Johnson (two years remaining at $38.5 million) were part of a deal.

But Miami must decide what else they would be willing to give up – the Wolves would ask for much more, including Josh Richardson, in the deal – and if they believe Wiggins is that ‘transformative’ player Pat Riley has referenced, and one worth paying nearly $150 million for five years.

Wiggins was the first overall pick in 2014 by the Cavaliers and then was traded by LeBron James to Minnesota for Kevin Love. In four years he is averaging 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.

Wiggins is among the worst defensive players in the league, which could give the Heat some pause, although he did improve last season. Players Wiggins was guarding shot 46.3 percent against him last season after a dreadful 2016-17 in which those same players made 49.4 percent of their shots.

 

Karl-Anthony Towns

Wiggins’ name is not the only one to come up when it comes to Minnesota. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported Towns is not happy, which has spurred trade speculation involving the 7-foot center.

Towns, 22, was the first overall pick in 2015, the same draft in which the Heat selected Justise Winslow with the 10th overall pick. He was an All-Star for the first time this past season, averaging 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds. Moving such a valuable player appears a longshot and especially to Miami. The Heat, though, certainly would love to put together a package of Whiteside and  a couple of their young players – Minnesota probably would start with Bam Adebayo and Richardson. And the Heat probably would have to take back a bad contract or two to make the deal work.

The problem is there would be a long line of suiters. Two off the top could be the Celtics and Suns. Boston could offer a package centering around Jaylen Brown and a first-round pick next year – they own Sacramento’s, their own and possibley two more – for Towns. The media in Phoenix is proposing the Suns get involved by offering the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. Moving to Phoenix would then reunite Towns with his former Kentucky teammate, and friend, Devin Booker.

Towns, too, can be a defensive liability and was a big reason Minnesota was tied for 22nd last season with a 108.4 defensive rating. Still, for one of the better offensive centers in the league and one who can stretch the floor – he attempted 285 threes last season making 42.1 percent – his contract is very friendly. He will make $7.8 million next season and $19.6 million in 2019-20 before becoming a restricted free agent.

[Mailbag: Chances Heat trade Dragic; could Suns try to pair Dragic with Luka Doncic? More on Winslow]

[Udonis Haslem wants to be part of Heat organization after playing career is over: ‘It’s important that the culture is carried on’]

[Here’s what the Heat are doing differently before the 2018 draft without any picks]

[Without pick, Heat are preparing for every possibility at NBA draft combine … even the possibility of acquiring a pick]

[Want more Heat news sent directly to your Facebook feed? Make sure to like our Heat Facebook page]

 

Mailbag: If Raptors blow it up can Heat swoop in for Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan?

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan wait for a free-throw during the second half of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Cavaliers Monday in Cleveland. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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 tdangelo@pbpost.com.

Don, Fort Lauderdale: If the Raptors blow it up could the Heat jump in and trade for some of their players?

Many believed the Raptors should have blown up their roster a year ago but they gambled, handed out several long-term contracts, and brought back most of their players (sound familiar?). Now, after president Masai Ujiri said, “we need a culture reset here” a year ago, where does he go from here after being swept in the conference semifinals for the second consecutive year by the Cavaliers? And this time as the No. 1 seed?

If you think the Heat are in salary cap hell, take a look at the Raptors who have three players eating up $80.4 million next season: point guard Kyle Lowry, $31.0 million; shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, $27.7 million; power forward Serge Ibaka, $21.7 million. Add center Jonas Valanciunas’ $16.5 million option and that puts the Raptors just $4 million shy of the projected $101 million salary cap.

If Toronto is looking for that “culture reset” it’ll probably start in the backcourt. DeRozan and Lowry are coming off All-Star seasons before once again wilting in the postseason. Lowry was an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season although his scoring dipped more than six points to 16.2 per game and he’s 32. DeRozan is four years younger and averaged 23.0 points per game.

DeRozan would bring the biggest return but he’s the player the Raptors may want to attempt to rebuild around. Toronto could look at one of the other teams looking to unload their All-Star point guard, like the Wizards (John Wall) or the Hornets (Kemba Walker), in a Lowry deal. Those options are more attractive than pursing Goran Dragic, who also recently turned 32. But if Toronto is looking for more young players perhaps they would be willing to expand the deal.

Of course, the Heat may not want to stop there, but the question is who else would they want? (Please, not Ibaka). The Raptors have some nice young players, some of whom like Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby they’ll want to hold onto. But in the Heat followers quest to trade Hassan Whiteside would the Raptors think about moving Valanciunas and making this a much larger deal?

Why not? But remember, any deal with a team like Toronto or even Washington or Milwaukee reeks of two desperate teams just hoping to push their problem onto another team.

Which leads us to another possible trade question …

@vfraumeni3: Any chance if Whiteside is moved that the spurs would take him? A move involving Hassan and Dion and a future 1st for (Kawhi Leonard) and (Patty Mills) could work well i think

So, Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters for Kawhi Leonard and Patty Mills? Pat Riley would drive to San Antonio in August with no air conditioning and the windows stuck in the up position if that’s what it took to get that deal done.

Whiteside will not end up a Spur unless the teams agree on a blockbuster. In fact, I’d put the chances of Leonard being to Miami next season better than Whiteside wearing a San Antonio uniform. But that would take the Spurs being rejected by several other teams before having serious talks with the Heat regarding a Leonard deal.

[Mailbag: Would expiring contracts be enough for the Heat in a Hassan Whiteside trade?]

[Erik Spoelstra says there’s a storyline that hasn’t drawn much attention, and it involves Rodney McGruder]

[The number of head coaching changes in NBA since Erik Spoelstra’s first season is staggering]

[Heat to participate in Sacramento summer league before heading to Las Vegas]

[Kelly Olynyk thrives in Heat system; says he’s ready to expand role]

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Mailbag: Would expiring contracts be enough for the Heat in a Hassan Whiteside trade?

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside (21) reacts to a play during the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena in Miami on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Daniel A. Varela/Miami Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — It’s time for another Heat mailbag.

If you weren’t able to ask a question this time, send your questions for future mailbags via Twitter (@Anthony_Chiang and @tomdangelo44). You can also email me at achiang@pbpost.com. Continue reading “Mailbag: Would expiring contracts be enough for the Heat in a Hassan Whiteside trade?”