NBA rumors: Hassan Whiteside to Jazz

Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent C Hassan Whiteside has agreed to a deal with the Utah Jazz, @excelbasketball agent Sean Kennedy tells ESPN.

More on Hassan Whiteside Free Agency

Carmichael Dave: Now that the Bogi situation is behind them, I continue to hear solid and steady chatter that the Kings and Hassan Whiteside are engaged in talks to bring him to Sacramento. Nothing is imminent, but they’ve been going on for days off and on.
Leading the pack, by far, is Hassan Whiteside. The big man reportedly has interest from Sacramento, who still has its full mid-level exception, but otherwise the league’s game of musical centers has mostly ended without him having a chair. A couple of other teams could use an extra center, notably Houston and Phoenix, but have just minimum or biannual exceptions remaining. And the team that should have signed him, Washington, opted for Robin Lopez (at $7.3 million!) instead. Aside from the Kings, one possibility to think about is Oklahoma City, which could sign him to a one-year deal and then trade him for – wait for it –more draft picks at the trade deadline. The Thunder could accomplish this with cap room or with their full mid-level exception, depending on how they manage the rest of their cap situation, but either way they can get to the right number.
The Knicks are the other team with lots of cap space, but they seem set at the center spot with Mitchell Robinson, Nerlens Noel, and masquerading 4-man Julius Randle. New York could theoretically sign him anyway, with the same rationale as the Thunder above. Wherever Whiteside ends up, he’s likely to be a bargain. His shortcomings are well-documented, but the production still matters, and it’s elite. At a BORD$ value of $17.2 million, he’ll likely be paid barely half his estimated value.
Whiteside bought a home in Portland because he says he wants to play here beyond this season, after which he becomes a free agent. “I just want to be on a team for a long time,” Whiteside said.
In a decision that has been fully expected, center Hassan Whiteside intends to opt into the final season of his contract barring something completely unforeseen developing in the coming days, according to a league source. Whiteside stands to make $27.1 million next season and plans to inform the Heat in the days before the June 29 deadline. Once he formally opts in, the Heat will be about $4 million over the projected $132 million luxury tax threshold, factoring in Miami’s first-round draft pick and forward Ryan Anderson’s expected buyout.
Hassan Whiteside is on the verge of a decision he never thought he would have to make when he signed with the Miami Heat on July 1, 2016: Whether he values playing time more than money, in his case the $27 million he is due on his player option for next season. Facing a June deadline for his decision, Whiteside spoke candidly with the South Florida Sun Sentinel when the question was presented in advance of the Heat's season finale Wednesday night at Barclays Center against the Brooklyn Nets. "You definitely want to have the money," he said. "But you also want to play."
Whiteside has been reduced to a reserve role since missing three games in late February and early March with a strained left hip. He is averaging 23.3 minutes per game, the fewest in his five seasons with the Heat, down from a high of 32.6 in 2016-17. "It's going to be an interesting summer," he said.
"It's a lot of money," Whiteside said of what he would leave on the table by opting out, "but if play the minutes I want to play, I would be putting up what the other guys I would be put in the category with, where I would make more money. If I'm playing 30-plus minutes a game, I would make more money." Whiteside, who turns 30 on June 13, said he appreciates the balancing act. "It's definitely getting in the right situation," he said. "You definitely want to have the money, but you don't want to lose money and get in a situation you don’t want to be in."
And unless something significant changes, it’s increasingly likely the Heat will need to wait until the summer of 2020, not 2019, to again be in position to make a franchise-altering free agent signing. That wasn’t necessarily the plan. The Heat has tried to move Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson this offseason but has not found a trade market, according to three people in contact with the team. Dion Waiters’ name also has been raised, one of these people said.
Creating significant space next summer would take moving mountains, either trading at least two — likely three — significant contracts or hoping that Goran Dragic opts out of a $19.2 million payment for 2019-20 or Whiteside opts out of $27.1 million for that season. Dragic could opt out if he has a big season, though there’s a good chance he plays out this contract. It seems unlikely Whiteside opts out, unless he has an All-Star caliber season. Even if the Heat makes Whiteside miserable by further diminishing his playing time, it would seem improbable he walks away from that big a paycheck, according to a source.
The Heat was outscored by 75 points with Whiteside on the court during the regular season (second worst on the team behind Dion Waiters) and by 26 points with Whiteside on the court during this playoff series, including minus 14 in Game 5. The Heat is expected to explore a Whiteside trade, with the center due $24.4 million and $27.1 million in the final two years of his contract.
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have re-signed center Hassan Whiteside. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tim MacMahon: Even if Hassan Whiteside decided to pull a DeAndre Jordan, the Mavericks would not be an option, according to a source. The Mavs made Whiteside a max offer in the opening hours of free agency but have moved on. Dallas would have to back out of several commitments to create cap space for Whiteside, including the trade to acquire center Andrew Bogut from the Warriors. Two of the Mavs' main free-agent commitments – Harrison Barnes and Deron Williams – are represented by Excel Sports Management, the same agency as Whiteside.
Dwyane Wade: Big big congrats to @youngwhiteside Your dedication and hard work to the game has finally paid off..#Caniborrow5dollars
Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami swung back momentum with Hassan Whiteside in meeting tonight, league sources tell @TheVertical. Heat regained footing with Dallas.
Shams Charania: Miami left its meeting with center Hassan Whiteside without an agreement, sources tell The Vertical. Dallas next up in New York.
Q: Are there any realistic FA the Lakers can get? - Steve Kyler: A bit surprised to hear Lakers not in the running for Whiteside... Miami and Dallas, thats rough for the Lakers.
With free agency starting at 12:01 a.m. tonight, Hassan Whiteside has scheduled meetings with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers in the next 24 to 36 hours, and the Heat also very much remains in play for his services, according to someone with direct knowledge. Whiteside has received interest from a bunch of teams, but to this point, he has agreed to meet with only two besides Miami: Dallas and Portland.
He met with Heat president Pat Riley a couple of weeks ago and might meet again with Heat officials sometime over the next two days, possibly in New York, where Pat Riley will be to meet with Kevin Durant on Sunday. One person who spoke to the Heat said there is growing sentiment internally to offer him a max deal (if Miami doesn't get Kevin Durant), even though some inside the Heat do not view him as a max player. But that is not definite and the Heat has been going back and forth on this. The Heat has told Whiteside it's very interested in keeping him but has a lot of moving parts to navigate through.
In a radio interview yesterday, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com said that the Dallas Mavericks will be getting the first meeting with Whiteside when the clock hits 12:01 a.m on July 1st. He noted, “It’s not like the Mavericks have had a ton of success in free agency recently,” which just points to the fact that Mark Cuban is on the edge of his seat waiting to make a big splash this offseason.
In regards to the the question of will the Mavericks pay Hassan the max? “Absolutely, no questions asked. The financial negotiations with the Mavericks will take all of one second. Max. One second max for the max,” Tim MacMahon stated emphatically.
After hearing what Hassan Whiteside said when he met the Miami media over the weekend, the Dallas Mavericks probably feel pretty good about their chances of signing the Heat’s free agent center. Whiteside played in the National Basketball Development League three times, and also was waived three times in the NBA. Then he finally received an honest chance with the Heat, where he flourished the past two seasons.
Calvin Watkins: According to a source the Houston Rockets are looking at the following high-level free agents: Al Horford, Kevin Durant, Hassan Whiteside and Ryan Anderson. The team's search to upgrading the roster will be wide and not just strictly with these four players.
As Dallas, Portland, the Lakers and others line up to make their case to Hassan Whiteside, to woo him with a potential max deal, the conflicted Heat goes back and forth about how much to offer its shot-blocking prodigy. Some important people inside the Heat do not view Whiteside as a max player, according to someone with direct knowledge. Therein lies the conundrum.
Horford’s first-year max is larger than Whiteside’s ($26 million to $22 million), and Horford will be hoping for a max deal, though the Heat believes he will be interested if Miami pursues him. The Heat also probably could sign Noah and Luol Deng for a bit more than what Whiteside would cost alone, but that wouldn’t make Miami better.
Patrick J Maloney: Does MIA have any cap space? Guess I'm just confused as to how Miami plans to make an offer to Kevin Durant with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Goran Dragic there. - Steve Kyler: If Kevin Durant says yes, Miami says no to Hassan Whiteside. They'll have about $42 million to play, if they can offload Josh McRoberts.
With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers' foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN.com that Whiteside has emerged a priority target for L.A. The Lakers, like the Heat, are still hopeful of securing a face-to-face recruiting meeting with Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant once free agency season commences at 12:01 a.m. on July 1. But the Lakers, sources say, are highly intrigued by Whiteside and what he could bring them as a double-double presence inside.
It appears the Heat wants to determine whether it has a chance to sign Durant before proceeding with Hassan Whiteside, who is lining up meetings (with Dallas and potentially others) shortly after the start of free agency.
The Mavs, according to sources, remain interested in keeping Parsons if they aren't able to persuade Conley and/or Whiteside to come to Dallas. However, the Mavs have made it clear to Parsons that they do not intend to offer him a max contract to keep him after his first two seasons in Dallas ended prematurely because of surgeries on his right knee. A max contract for Parsons with the Mavs, who own his early Bird rights, would be worth $98.4 million over four years. Other teams can offer him $94.1 million over four years.
According to sources familiar with free agent talks, the Warriors are looking at Al Horford, Joakim Noah and even Hassan Whiteside. The contract demands might be too hefty but the goal is clear. The Warriors can't thrive with a center that doesn't attack the rim or score inside.
The Dallas Mavericks have emerged as a serious suitor for Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who becomes a free agent on July 1. ESPN Dallas reported on Thursday that Dallas expects to be granted a meeting with Whiteside in the opening hours of free agency. A friend of Whiteside did not dispute that report and said Whiteside, through back-channels, is generating considerable interest around the league. ESPN identified Portland as another team expected to seriously pursue Whiteside. That friend said Whiteside prefers to stay with the Heat if all things are equal financially.
A general manager for another team said he fully expects Whiteside to receive a max deal, with a first-year salary of $22 million if the cap rises to $94 million as projected.
Though the Heat ideally would prefer to re-sign Hassan Whiteside at something less than a max deal (but ultimately might need to offer that), a competing and respected NBA general manager explained to me recently why it would be short-sighted for Miami to risk losing him over a few million dollars a year, why it’s easy to justify a max deal for Whiteside (starting at a projected $21.6 million) and why he’s going to be offered that by multiple teams. The GM, who cannot be named because of NBA tampering rules, listed four reasons: Where else, he said, are you going to find a player so skilled at deterring shots (Whiteside's blocked shots average was the league’s highest in 15 years), at rebounding (fourth in the league) and with a developing offensive game where he’s now seen as a player who could average between 15 to 18 points a game? There’s nobody else remotely like that in this free agent class, the GM said.
With the big spike in the cap assured to drive up salaries for most everybody, the GM said it’s pointless to offer only $19 million to start – and allow yourself to be outbid – “because that extra $3 million is not going to get you” anything close to an impact player. So just give him the $22 million, the GM said.
There is a sense that Whiteside is one of the top names on the Lakers’ wish list of free agents, with the Celtics also interested. The problem with trying to peg either as having some edge over the other neglects that Whiteside could be the most obtainable free agent in the class and likely gets a lot of interest beyond those two suitors.
But we’ve repeatedly heard the Heat’s preference is persuading him to sign under the max (projected to be $21.6 million next season) by selling him on the lack of state income tax, his comfort level here, the roster flexibility created by him taking a bit less; and that Miami can offer 7.5 percent annual raises off the first year salary (compared with 4.5 percent elsewhere). That means a four-year deal starting at $20.7 million with Miami would equal a four-year deal starting at $21.6 million elsewhere.
But not, he said, for Whiteside, with a potential $22 million NBA-maximum certainly within the realm for the Heat free agent. "From what people told me, yes," the scout said. "But he is more than that. He is a much better version than Biyombo. He can score. You're not playing four on five."
Whiteside averaged 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks this season, but in 36 minutes — closer to what all the others played — he recorded 17.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 4.6 blocks. He also progressed with screen-setting and free-throw shooting. “I think he wants to be part of a winner,” Riley said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt his next level is to, along with others, carry. He’s got to carry … a load, almost every night. That will allow you to win. And be a contender. And I think he can do that.”
“I don’t think he’s even reached his real ceiling in a couple of areas of the game,” Riley said. “And I think that now he’ll be more comfortable once his situation ends. When a player spends six years of his career having everybody tell him why he’s not good enough to be in the NBA … I think when he gets an opportunity, what young players try to do first is, ‘I’m going to show you I’m good enough to play in the NBA.’ … [And what] could be individually important might not be as good for the team. But once that’s out of the way, I think the roof is the ceiling.”
Sorry boys, @youngwhiteside all tied down here in M-I-A, keep dreamin'. Respect 4 yr city @Dame_Lillard @CJMcCollum CJ McCollum: Last I checked he was an unrestricted free agent
Dan Le Batard: "You do what you want with the information. All I’m telling you is priority No. 1 is not get Dwyane locked up, Whiteside locked up. No. 1 on the list is can you get the superstar that is the big get in free agency while also taking care of your people around that?"
Now, the 26-year-old is set to become one of this summer's most sought-after free agents, and as an All-Star caliber player likely in line to receive max contract offers elsewhere, Heat president Pat Riley says the team plans to keep the 7-foot shot-blocking aficionado around for the long haul. "He's obviously, I think, our No. 1 priority. Period. You don't have to look further than that," Riley said. "While there might be players out there in free agency, our No. 1 priority is Hassan Whiteside. He's 26 years old. He's a game changer. I don't think he's even reached his real ceiling in a couple areas of the game ..."
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