Hassan Whiteside has asserted himself as one of the best young big men in the NBA, blocking shots and scoring in the paint at a high clip. His tremendous play the last two seasons has made him one of the most highly demanded guys on the free agent market, which is set to open this Friday, July 1st.

At the moment, Whiteside is being courted by the Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, and the incumbent Miami Heat. Considering where he was a couple years back, Hassan has come a long, long way.

Via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Hassan Whiteside on free agency: “I find it flattering. In my past I was trying to call those teams. Now it’s the other way around.”

Hassan Whiteside

AP Photo/Chuck Burton

Whiteside’s journey to this point has included numerous D-League stints and time spent playing professionally abroad, going back to when he was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2010.

Then, mid-way through the 2014-15 season, an injury-battered Heat organization decided to give Whiteside another chance. He did not disappoint, averaging 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and a NBA-leading 3.7 blocks this past season after putting up similar numbers the year before. Now, he’ll reap the benefits in free agency, with more money being thrown around than ever with the salary cap rising by $24 million.

After fending for himself all of these years, he’s not letting anything impact his decision other than what he feels is best for himself. Some felt he would give the Heat more consideration because they gave him his opportunity to get back into the league, but that’s not necessarily the case.

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From Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel:

“I really don’t think it’s about loyalty,” he said. “I think it’s just about the best situation for myself.”

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