Hassan Whiteside played his cards perfectly, getting a maximum contract in principle from the Miami Heat, after there had been some reluctance to offer one.
But he's done something else:
He's given Pat Riley more cards to play with.
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 $20 million, it would still need to trade Goran Dragic and Josh McRoberts for nothing just to get close to Durant's max.
Still, it was a good faith gesture from Whiteside, and it's a good start to the rest of his Heat tenure.