Hassan Whiteside expresses frustration with lack of minutes in expletive-filled rant; questions future with Heat

The Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside drives against the Brooklyn Nets’ Jarrett Allen during the first quarter at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Saturday, March 31, 2018. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

MIAMI — Hassan Whiteside did not play in the fourth quarter or overtime of Saturday’s 110-109 overtime loss to the Nets, and he’s not happy about it.

“Man, it’s annoying. Why we matching up?,” Whiteside said after the game. “We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength. It’s bull—-. It’s really bull—-, man. There’s a lot of teams that could use a center. [Expletive]. That’s bull—-.”

The Heat’s starting center finished with 14 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes Saturday, but his anger stems from coach Erik Spoelstra’s decision to use a small lineup down the stretch. Whiteside was subbed out of the game with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter and never returned, as Spoelstra turned to a small lineup that featured James Johnson at center to match up with Brooklyn’s personnel.

Whiteside, who was playing in his second game Saturday after missing nine because of a strained left hip flexor, is averaging 25.6 minutes per game this season after playing 32.6 minutes per game last season.

“I don’t know if it’s because of a minutes restriction or what. The minutes have been like that all year,” Whiteside said. “It’s just really frustrating and its been frustrating. It’s tough. I don’t know man, it’s crazy. I don’t understand it.”

When asked if the lack of minutes has made him question his future in Miami, Whiteside said: “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Spoelstra said after Saturday’s loss that Whiteside’s conditioning is still not where it was before the injury, and pointed to Brooklyn’s small lineup as the reason he kept the 7-footer on the bench for the final 20 minutes and 55 seconds of the game.

“It’s not where it was when he left against Philly, his last game [before the injury],” Spoelstra said of Whiteside’s conditioning minutes before the center’s post-game rant. “He’ll probably say something different. But game action is game action. You can do all you want behind the scenes. But you got to get those minutes in games. He had some good moments tonight. They went to the smaller lineup and it always comes to that. Does the speed lineup get to size or size get to speed? And their speed got to our size for a little bit.”

Whiteside is in the second season of a four-year, $98 million contract that he signed in the 2016 offseason.

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