Hassan Whiteside agreed to a reported four-year, $98 million max contract to stay with the Miami Heat on Friday, but there apparently is some wiggle room with that number. The Heat are trying to recruit superstar free agent Kevin Durant, and they convinced Whiteside to sacrifice money if they succeed, according to the Miami Herald's Ethan Skolnick:
According to multiple sources, the Heat center agreed to take less than $98 million over four years on one condition -- that it helps the Heat land Kevin Durant, with whom Riley and Micky Arison will meet in the Hamptons on Sunday. Durant has already met with the Thunder and Warriors, and is meeting with the Clippers, Celtics and Spurs before he meets with Miami.
How much less?
That's not clear, though I was told that the total reduction in the event of a Durant signing would be less than $10 million. If Miami re-signs Dwyane Wade at a contract starting anywhere close to $40 million, it would still need to trade Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts for nothing just to get close to Durant's max.
Getting Durant was always going to be a long shot because of Miami's salary-cap situation, so this isn't a huge financial risk for Whiteside. And if he's potentially giving up less than $2 million per season to play with Durant and have a chance at competing for a title, that seems like a pretty good deal. Still, Skolnick called it a "good faith gesture" on Whiteside's part, and that's definitely true. Whiteside could have easily said no to this proposal or signed with another suitor.
With Miami's meeting with Durant scheduled for Sunday, the player to watch now is Dwyane Wade. Can Pat Riley and the rest of the Heat's front office complete a similar arrangement with their longtime star? Wade is reportedly considering going elsewhere, but it's hard to picture him doing so. Maybe Miami can present him two offers: one with Durant and one without him.