Sticking to his brand, Hassan Whiteside announced early Friday morning on Snapchat that he will be re-signing with the Miami Heat:
While the way Whiteside made his announcement may be a little corny (although his use of Will Smith's "Miami" is pretty hilarious), he wrote a short but more personal and reflective post about his decision for The Players' Tribune:
I've played on eight teams since college - from Reno to Sioux Falls to Sichuan, China.
I am not ready for there to be a ninth.
I have decided to re-sign with Miami. I just wanted to take this time to tell all the fans how much you mean to this team, and to me.
Can't wait to get back to work and try to bring another championship to Miami. #HeatNation
Whiteside found a home in Miami over the last two seasons and has quickly become one of the better shot blockers in the league. Last season, Whiteside averaged 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and a league-leading 3.7 blocks a game. With such eye-popping numbers, Whiteside was seen as one of the top centers on the free-agent market and he briefly flirted with the Dallas Mavericks before deciding to stay in Miami.
Whiteside is now the second marquee center that the Mavs have whiffed on in free agency. Dallas set their targets on Whiteside and planned to offer him a max but he ultimately decided to not make a move. A similar situation occurred last summer in Dallas when DeAndre Jordan reneged on his word and decided to stay with the Clippers instead of signing with the Mavs. It's still early though in free agency so Dallas has plenty of time to add a big man, but so far their track record at recruiting centers isn't that great.
For Whiteside, staying in Miami means he can continue to establish some roots in the city, something he's never truly had before as he wrote in The Players' Tribune, while also perhaps even becoming an All-Star center in the East.
The Heat will be paying him handsomely as well. According to the AP's Tim Reynolds, Whiteside will sign a four-year, $98 million deal with the Heat. A max contract for Whiteside, who last season made $980,000. Now he is making 100 times that over the course of four years. Quite the pay day for Whiteside, which Dwyane Wade jokingly made fun of while also offering congratulations:
Wade is a free agent himself and due to stalled talked with the Heat, he
out to the Spurs and Mavericks. But the Heat will likely do whatever it takes to keep Wade in Miami. He is still a very productive player and is after all a franchise icon.
Now with Whiteside agreeing to stay in Miami, the Heat can head into their Sunday meeting with Kevin Durant a bit more confident. They have one of the best rim protectors in the league in Whiteside, warm weather, cap space, no state income tax, the possible return of Chris Bosh and despite stalled talks, will likely bring back Wade. Durant may have his mind made up already but the Heat definitely have a lot to offer.