Hassan Whiteside says he had a ‘great talk’ with Pat Riley, Erik Spoelstra
Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside had a four-hour meeting with president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra after a disappointing season where he spent time in and out of the starting lineup after being hampered by multiple injuries.
The 7-footer was irate at the end of the postseason after he was clearly bumped out of the rotation by the likes of Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo. Whiteside noted he would meet with Riley and Spoelstra to address his frustration with his playing time.
“We had a great talk,” Whiteside told reporters on a conference call to discuss Saturday’s NBA game in Africa, in which he plans to play, according to ESPN. “I just think it’s trust on both sides. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Riley had claimed that Whiteside was just not ready to be on the floor, siding with coach Spoelstra and praising his decision to put able bodies on the court.
Whiteside seemed en route to a breakout season after posting 26 points and 22 rebounds against the Orlando Magic in the regular-season opener, but the big man never reached those heights again all season after a barrage of injuries took their toll.
“I was in and out of the rotation with injuries,” said Whiteside. “Just coming back healthy. Coming back from a bone bruise, it takes months to heal.”
The North Carolina native declared himself “completely healed” and said he felt great having had the time to fully recover and get himself right again.
“I feel like my regular self again,” he said.
Building that trust with Spoelstra and Riley was of utmost importance, as rumors of a potential looming trade circled the wagons shortly after his post-playoff outrage was revealed. Riley was quick to dismiss those rumors early in the summer.
Whiteside was previously raring to return to the lineup and might have rushed his recovery process, which often landed him back on the shelf. If he can manage to remain patient during these setbacks, he will see more faith from both coach and president in the near future as a cornerstone of the franchise.