Riley confirms Whiteside will opt in, adds center never requested a trade

Jacari McRae | June 21st, 2019

During the post-2019 NBA Draft press conference, Miami Heat president Pat Riley confirmed that Hassan Whiteside will opt in for next season. The Heat center is set to make $27 million next season. Riley also responded to a recent report about the center demanding a trade.

Via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

“There’s been nothing like that,” Riley said of the Heat potentially trading Whiteside. “I believe he is going to opt in and going to come to training camp like everybody else and earn it. That’s where we are right now with all of our players. Same thing with Goran [Dragic].”

Whiteside, who turned 30 years old last Thursday, averaged 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds with 1.9 blocks per game in 72 games for the Heat last season. He started in 53 of his 72 games with the Heat moving forward with Bam Adebayo as it’s starting center. While he posted solid numbers, Whiteside’s 23.3 minutes per game were his lowest mark since he arrived in Miami in 2014.

It’s no secret Whiteside hasn’t been thrilled about his reduced role and inconsistent minutes over the last two seasons. However, despite expressing his dissatisfaction about playing time, he was always expected to exercise his player option to stick with the Heat. Even though there’s plenty of teams with cap space, it’s very unlikely they would’ve offered Whiteside close to his $27 million player option.

With both Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic opting in, the Heat’s salary cap is expected to increase well over the projected $132 million luxury tax threshold. The team plans to explore ways to trim costs during the off-season to avoid paying the luxury tax. This includes finding new homes for Whiteside and maybe Goran Dragic.

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Main Image Credit:  Embed from Getty Images

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