Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra downplays reportedly tenuous relationship with Hassan Whiteside
The tension between Erik Spoelstra and Hassan Whiteside has been a recurring story surrounding the Miami Heat. Although many assume that the relationship is beyond repair, Spoelstra downplayed some of those rumors. Spoelstra told Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post:
“We’ve gotten together for lunch, in constant contact on the phone and in texts. Like many things in this league, it’s not what it seems on the outside. It’s pretty normal NBA life. I’m looking forward to the start of the season with a healthy Hassan. I know he’s looking forward to that. And we still have a good part of the summer to get better.”
Obviously, it’s not in Spoelstra’s best interests to air any dirty laundry between him and Whiteside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s lying. The repairing of frayed relationships happens, and there’s no doubt that this relationship is salvageable.
Time heals all wounds and maybe the time apart during the summer is enough to let Spo and Whiteside fix theirs. The Heat center still has two years left on his deal, with a player option in 2019-20.
If Miami intends to trade Whiteside, they’ll need to find someone willing to take on his $25 million salary. Additionally, Whiteside’s player option in 2019-20 is worth $27 million. That’s a high price to pay for a guy who has been somewhat of a problem child throughout his career, and with teams trying to more efficiently use their cap space than ever, he may be stuck in Miami for at least the next couple of seasons.