Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside had a break out year last year, averaging 11.8 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Heat on a cheap two-year contract that Pat Riley and the Heat were smart to give to Whiteside. With Whiteside to begin the 2015-2016 season building on his career year in 2014-2015, he will make just under one-million dollars.
The $981,348 that Whiteside will make in 2015-2016 if his deal is guaranteed by the Heat is a very team friendly in terms of the salary cap. However, Whiteside is expected to get a major pay day by NBA teams in 2016, and with the Heat not having restricted free agency or bird rights on Whiteside, it’s likely that if Whiteside gets what he’s projected to get on the open market, it’s likely the Heat wouldn’t be able to afford Whiteside’s deal if it matches the projections.
Whiteside burst on the scene last season, but based on his history it was hard for anyone — even the Heat — to project he’d be this successful. Whiteside’s rags-to-riches rise occurred in his third NBA season; had it happened any earlier, the Heat would have given him a team option on 2015-16 instead of a non-guaranteed year, which would have allowed them to decline that option, turning him into a 2015 restricted free agent. Instead, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent with only Early Bird rights, meaning Miami will have to use cap space to pay him market value. Of course, this all depends on Whiteside’s ability to stay on his best behavior and continue to produce on a high level on the floor.
Suggested AAV: $18.8 million/year ($56.4 million over three years, team option on third year)
Heat guard Goran Dragic took less money from his five-year deal to help the Heat retain Dwyane Wade, but who will help the Heat retain Whiteside come the Summer of 2016?
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