Whiteside is in the second year of a four-year, $98 million deal and he certainly is not untouchable.
But will the Heat actively shop their defensive anchor? That question should be easier to answer as we get closer to the Feb. 8 trade deadline and beyond. As long as the Heat stay in the hunt, Pat Riley will not weaken the team. Making the playoffs is important to Riley and the players. But Riley never stops exploring ways to get better and if Adebayo continues to improve and the Heat believe he and Kelly Olynyk can anchor the middle, than, yes, Whiteside becomes a bit more expendable. But a lot has to happen if the Heat decided to deal Whiteside. First, a team must be willing to take on the remainder of his contract and secondly, that team must have a star that Riley would require if his is trading one of his building blocks.