NBA rumors: Miami Heat to offer less than max contract to Hassan Whiteside, Lakers to pursue the center

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Hassan Whiteside (Photo courtesy: GoldenBryan/Creative Commons)

Hassan Whiteside is expected to become one of the most sought after free agents this summer. The center had a stellar season with the Miami Heat. The Los Angeles Lakers are already pursuing him. Sources reveal that Heat will offer him less than the max contract to remain in their squad.

This could well become a weak link in the bond which provides the Lakers an opportunity to pounce on him in the upcoming free agency. Whiteside is the most interesting free agent, as Miami doesn’t have his complete bird rights. So the team will have to use its cap space to keep him, can’t exceed it to re-sign the tall center.

Whiteside has emerged as the best center of this edition of NBA by posting averages of 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in 29.1 minutes per game. He led the league in terms of blocked shots and ranked third in rebounding.

Miami is trying to convince the 26-year-old center to stay with the team for less than a max contract, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

“There will be considerable debate inside the Heat over the next six weeks about how much to offer Hassan Whiteside when free agency begins July 1.

The Heat values him but someone who has spoken to the team’s front office said he believes the Heat will try to convince him to take something less than the max deal he almost assuredly could get elsewhere.” Wrote Jackson.

With Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, and Joe Johnson all set to hit the free agency, the Heat front office are in a tight situation to offer Whiteside a max contract. And the Heat have plans of pursuing Kevin Durant in free agency. If they finally do so, they’ll leave Whiteside.

So, the Lakers get an opportunity to land the big man at Los Angeles.

Photo courtesy: GoldenBryan/Creative Commons

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