The Miami Heat fell short in the NBA playoffs 2016 when they failed to beat the Toronto Raptors of Kyle Lowry for a potential face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers of LeBron James. With the impressive performances of Dwyane Wade and Hassan Whiteside in the first part of the NBA playoffs where they ended the championship run of the Jeremy Lin team, a number of fans expected that Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will go head to head against the Luol Deng squad.
Despite their failure to succeed in the NBA playoffs 2016, the Miami Heat achieved a number of remarkable things this season. In the absence of both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the former LeBron James squad saw the emergence of two leaders - Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside. Does this mean that the Miami Heat will guarantee the contract of Whiteside, who got into a bitter feud against Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green earlier this season, to get a better shot at an NBA championship next year?
"He's obviously, I think, our No. 1 priority. Period," said Pat Riley of Whiteside. The Miami Heat owner added, "You don't have to look further than that. 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."
Riley further said of the rumored next LeBron James of the Miami Heat, "I want to build a team that can win, and (Whiteside's) got to be part of that. I really believe it's important for him to be part of that."
Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade is set to become a free agent by next season. While the veteran has yet to actually re-sign with the team, his return to the Miami Heat appears to be a certainty now. However, rumors are circulating that Wade might not sign with the team if Chris Bosh does not go back.
Bosh missed out on a couple of regular season games and the whole stint of the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs 2016 when his blood clotting concern resurfaced. Despite his requests to go back to the hardwood court, the Miami Heat refused to heed his calls. Will this spell the end of his career in the NBA?
"There are so many other things he could do with his life," said Bo Kimble of Bosh's decision to still try and go back to playing basketball. The former New York Knicks star added, "Hank Gathers had the same thing. Hank could have been a comedian, an actor or did speaking engagements. It's not worth the risk. I would just say absolutely not, don't do it."
Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat have yet to officially seal the deal. Apart from his rumored ultimatum to only re-sign if Chris Bosh is back, there also remains the possibility that he reunites with LeBron James. Earlier this NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers star shared his dream to have Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony in one team.