New reports indicate that the Miami Heat is refusing to offer a maximum contract to Hassan Whiteside, who is expected to become a free agent by the end of this season. If this is true and if the team decides to continue to take this path, then they could lose this valuable center to other teams looking to snatch him.
Although the Toronto Raptors eliminated the Heat during the Eastern Conference Semifinals, there were still a lot of standout players from Miami. One of these is Whiteside.
Of course, with his skills and contributions to the team, Miami certainly would like to retain him for next season. Whiteside, too, also wants to stay with the Heat according to the Miami Herald.
Since these two parties seem to want the same thing, it's probably not that hard to come up with an agreeable deal. However, it appears this is exactly what's happening in Miami as the team reportedly continues to lowball Whiteside by not giving him max contract next season.
This can be considered as a negotiation tactic by Miami to persuade Whiteside to agree to a lower value. That's probably because Heat is hoping to generate enough cap space to draft and trade other players.
However, there's also a possibility that this strategy would backfire and send Whiteside to another team that's willing to give him more money. As noted by various sources, aside from the Los Angeles Lakers, the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are also very interested in signing him once free agency begins.
Whiteside could then use the offer from another team as his leverage in negotiating with Miami. If the team really wants him that bad, then the Heat officials would be forced to make a bigger counter offer just to retain him in the lineup.
And, based on what team president Pat Riley said last month, retaining Whiteside is one of Miami's top priorities.
"I want to build a team that can win and he's got to be part of that," he said according to NBC Sports. "I really believe it's important for him to be a part of that. Now, when you get to the other part of the negotiations, then you find out how much he wants to win, too."