Friday, July 01, 2016

Report: Heat leave meeting with Hassan Whiteside without agreement

Pat Riley stayed true to his word.

He said last month the Miami Heat would be "right there at 12:01 a.m." to meet with Hassan Whiteside at the start of NBA free agency. And the Heat was there.

According to The Vertical's Shams Charania, it was the Heat and not the Mavericks who first met with the league's leading shot blocker in New York early Friday morning. But the Heat, Charania reported, left its meeting without an agreement.

The Mavericks, expected to put forth a max contract offer for Whiteside, were due up next according to Charania. There's no word yet if the Heat offered Whiteside the maximum -- four years, $98 million -- during its meeting.

Earlier Thursday, there was growing sentiment internally for the Heat to offer Whiteside a max deal (if Miami would not be able to land Kevin Durant), even though some inside the Heat do not view him as a max player.

Former Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov, who averaged 6.3 points, 4.4 rebound and 17.4 minutes per game last season, came to an unexpected and quick four-year, $64 million agreement with the Los Angeles Lakers according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, who missed 68 games and averaged just 6.3 points and 9.4 rebounds over the last two seasons, is reportedly expected to finalize a four-year, $72 million deal with the New York Knicks as early as Friday.

With Mozgov and Noah garnering that kind of money, its only put more pressure on the Heat to give into Whiteside's demands. After all, he finished third in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, led the league in blocks and averaged 14.2 points and 11.8 rebounds last season.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hassan Whiteside edged out by DeAndre Jordan for All-Defensive First Team honors

The snubs keep on coming for Hassan Whiteside.

After finishing third in the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year voting last month, the NBA's leader in blocked shots this season was head scratchingly named to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team on Wednesday. 

Whiteside was beat out for the top spot among centers by the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, who had three more first-team votes and five more second-team votes than Whiteside. The Heat's center finished sixth among all vote-getters with 141 points. 

Jordan had a slightly better defensive rating (100.3) than Whiteside (101.5) according to the NBA's stats page. But the Heat center still averaged 3.8 blocks to Jordan's 2.3. Whiteside also defended more field goals at the rim (769) than any other player in the league. 

Whiteside’s 9.7 block percentage was the highest in the NBA and no other player had a percentage higher than 6.1. According to Basketball Reference, Whiteside's defensive rating of 95 was the best in the NBA this season and the best rating in the league over the last five years.

He became just the second player in NBA history to block at least 250 shots and shoot over 60 percent (.606) from the field, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who accomplished the feat during the 1979-80 season. Whiteside also became only the third player over the last 20 years to post at least 1,000 points (1,040) and block at least 250 shots, joining Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo.

Whiteside recorded 22 five-plus block games, the second-most during a single-season in team history and blocked multiple shots in 23-striaght overall games, the longest such streak in franchise history. He also blocked multiple shots in 21 consecutive games to start the season, the third-longest streak to start a season over the last 30 years, only Mark Eaton (1988-89) and Shaquille O’Neal (1992-93) had longer streaks.

Whiteside also led Miami in rebounds a team-high 55 times and grabbed double-figure rebounds a team-high 53 times, just three short of tying the single-season team record of 56 held by Rony Seikaly in 1991-92.

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, 130 (1st team votes), 0 (2nd team votes), 260 points
Draymond Green, Golden State, 123 (1st team votes), 5 (2nd team votes), 251 points
DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers, 47 (1st team votes), 43 (2nd team votes), 137 points
Avery Bradley, Boston, 62 (1st team votes), 25 (2nd team votes), 149 points
Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers, 59 (1st team votes), 30 (2nd team votes), 148 points

Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 11 (1st team votes), 75 (2nd team votes), 97 points
Paul George, Indiana, 5 (1st team votes), 38 (2nd team votes), 48 points
Hassan Whiteside, Miami, 44 (1st team votes), 38 (2nd team votes), 126 points
Tony Allen, Memphis, 44 (1st team votes), 33 (2nd team votes), 121 points
Jimmy Butler, Chicago, 18 (1st team votes), 26 (2nd team votes), 62 points 

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Rudy Gobert, Utah, 64 (17); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 49 (16); Jae Crowder, Boston, 47 (3); LeBron James, Cleveland, 43 (5); Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 43 (9); Danny Green, San Antonio, 39 (9); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 35 (12); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 33 (5); Ricky Rubio, Minnesota, 30 (6); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit, 27 (3); Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 24 (3); Andre Drummond, Detroit, 14 (5); Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 14 (1); Stephen Curry, Golden State, 13 (3); Andre Iguodala, Golden State, 13 (3); Patrick Beverley, Houston, 11 (1); Al Horford, Atlanta, 7 (1); Marcus Smart, Boston, 7 (2); John Wall, Washington, 6; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 3; Trevor Ariza, Houston, 3; Kent Bazemore, Atlanta, 3; Andrew Bogut, Golden State, 3 (1); DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 3 (1); Nicolas Batum, Charlotte, 2; Victor Oladipo, Orlando, 2 (1); LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Harrison Barnes, Golden State, 1; Bismack Biyombo, Toronto, 1; Mike Conley, Memphis, 1; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City, 1; Derrick Favors, Utah, 1; George Hill, Indiana, 1; Wesley Matthews, Dallas, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Los Angeles Clippers; Kristaps Porzingis, New York, 1; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City, 1; Mike Scott, Atlanta, 1; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 1.

Monday, May 09, 2016

When will Hassan Whiteside return from his sprained MCL? Good luck guessing

Hassan Whiteside will not be playing Monday night in Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors. 

That much we know for sure. But anything beyond that is anyone's guess right now.

A sprained medial collateral ligament can be tricky and not everyone reacts the same.

Soon to be two-time league MVP Steph Curry hasn't played since he sustained a Grade 1 MCL sprain in Game 4 against the Houston Rockets. Other players like Deron Williams and John Wall have missed one game or none at all. 

And the Heat are simply listing Whiteside as day-to-day right now.

"He's not playing tonight and that's the only thing I'm concerned about right now," coach Erik Spoelstra said Monday morning after his team's shoot-around. 

"Obviously all of us were very concerned [on Saturday when he was hurt]. When we left the building we tried to stay positive, but you're also aware of the different scenarios there could be. It's a non-surgery option, which I think is obviously the best option considering everything."

Veteran Udonis Haslem, who played a season-high 22 minutes and 12 seconds in Game 3 and is in line for more minutes as the series moves forward with Whiteside out, has played through a number of injuries in the playoffs -- from a broken foot to broken fingers, ankle sprains and more. He's also played with a sprained MCL.

"It feels like your leg is kind of not stable. Your knee is not stable," Haslem said Monday. "It can kind of go any direction at any given time. And it's kind of painful to walk, to run, to bend."

Is it simply about playing through fear and pain?

"I don't think mine was as severe as his," Haslem said. "So, his process may be a little different than mine's was."

ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell joined 790 The Ticket's morning show with Jonathan Zaslow, Brett Romberg and Amber Wilson Monday and did a good job providing some insight and background into MCL sprains

"Basically, the MCL is the ligament that protects the inside of your knee," Bell said. "It gives you your stability -- especially when you're moving laterally, when you have to cut, when you have to pivot. But even just running up and down the court, if you have a significant injury to your MCL it's going to make it difficult to move your knee. It's going to stiffen up and your going to lose range of motion. I heard [Spoelstra] said they got 'the best news possible.' What that tells me is it's not a complete tear, they didn't probably see any structural damage on the MRI. That's why they're calling him day-to-day. Because it's truly a matter of function and pain and what he can do and what he needs to do to play. But I've got to tell you a turnaround of 48 hours is pretty quick."

Whiteside, due for a big payday this summer, could potentially hurt his asking price this summer if he were to return and tear his MCL or ACL and further injure his knee. 

He said Saturday the pain he experienced was something he had never felt before -- even after he strained his right knee when he slipped on the court in Game 1.

Spoelstra said Monday Whiteside's injury in Game 3 was not related to what happened in Game 1 and said "this was a contact injury."

"Who knows if it's exactly the same area of his knee, but the fact he had already done something to that side seemed to aggravate it fairly easily," Bell said. "He had a fall [Saturday], but still it didn't look that dramatic in terms of the worst way you can injure your knee. So maybe it was already setup from the first way he did it in Game 1. Now, he's got this. You're not going to put him out there if he can't move well because that would really set him up for potentially greater injury."

Bell said there are ways the Heat's medical and training staff could alleviate some of the discomfort for Whiteside. 

"You can wear a brace what gives you lateral support," Bell said. "It's a medial or lateral bracket if you will, like a little metal piece that kind of reinforces the side. But those aren't always comfortable. Certainly, the rehab staff, the athletic trainers or physical therapists, can do tape jobs that help. They could offer a lot of comfort, kind of help reinforce the inside of the knee.

"I've heard people reference football players that came back the next week [from an MCL injury]. But they may not need to move in a fluid or dynamic way. They're not jumping all the time. They're not necessarily running and changing direction on a short surface. So it's really difficult to compare one athlete to another even when you're talking about the same grade of injury."

Would Bell allow Whiteside to return if he were clamoring to play?

"Only if he could show me that he could move as well he said he felt," she said. "It really comes down to performance and they don't want to put somebody in if they're a compromised version of themselves. Because that doesn't really do anyone any good either. So while you appreciate his effort to get back on the court and certainly they want him there if he can be what he needs to be, it probably will come down to how he looks [in shoot around] and in pregame warm-ups and can he do what he needs to do for them to feel comfortable putting him in."

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Whiteside on the pain in his right knee: "Probably like a seven (out of ten)"

Hassan Whiteside limped out of AmericanAirlines Arena Saturday night in a soft cast -- and the Heat's hopes might have limped out with him.

Miami's starting 7-foot center will undergo an MRI Sunday on his right knee after injuring it early in the second quarter in the 95-91 Game 3 loss to the Raptors.

"Probably like a seven [out of ten]," Whiteside said when asked about the level of pain in his knee. "I'll just get the MRI results and take it from there. I'm just going to pray on it and take it from there."

Whiteside was fighting for rebounding position in the paint with Kyle Lowry on a Gerald Green missed jump shot when he was hurt with 10:55 left in the first half. Lowry was pulling down on Whiteside’s left arm and as the 7-footer was falling to the court teammate Luol Deng became entangled with Whiteside’s legs as Deng came charging toward the basket.  

"I think Kyle Lowry dove or fell into my knee and pushed it in," Whiteside said. "I didn't see the play, but that's what happened. I was just going for the rebound and I felt someone fall into my knee. I don't know if it was intentional or by accident. That's what happened."

Whiteside, who had been dealing with a bruised right thigh since Game 3 of the first round series against Charlotte and a right knee strain after he slipped on a wet spot on the court in Game 1 against Toronto, was clearly worried as he left.

"I felt something," he said. "but we will know more tomorrow."

Friday, April 29, 2016

Joe Johnson, Hassan Whiteside share views on Courtney Lee's big rebound at end of Game 5

CHARLOTTE – The Heat’s Joe Johnson and Hassan Whiteside on Friday each took a little blame for how the Hornets Courtney Lee was able to swoop in and grab a big offensive rebound late in Game 5 moments before hitting the game-winning three-point shot with nobody really guarding him.

“I got switched onto Kemba [Walker] and I jumped with Kemba when he took the jump shot,” Whiteside said. “Then, I could see Kemba out of the corner of my eye so that's why I kind of stayed looking at Kemba [and didn’t move]. Then, me and Josh [Richardson] got switched up [after Lee grabbed the rebound]. I didn’t realize Josh was behind me."

Most fans naturally blamed Dwyane Wade for not boxing out Lee since Wade was guarding Lee on the play. But when Whiteside jumped out to contest Walker's shot, Wade moved inside to help Josh Richardson, who had the Walker assignment prior to the pick-and-roll and was trying to box out 7-foot center Cody Zeller.

Once the ball caromed off the rim, Johnson, who was free and could have stepped up to grab the rebound, reacted too slowly and Lee instead swooped in to grab the rebound. Johnson said he was in the right spot on the floor, but was upset he didn’t get to the ball quick enough.

“I [saw Lee] late,” said Johnson, whose defensive assignment was Jeremy Lin. “It happens. It's a tough spot. Give Courtney Lee credit. He came up with a big rebound."


Joe Johnson, who signed with the Heat in late February and was expected to be much more impactful in the Heat’s playoff push, went into Game 6 on Friday hoping to be more aggressive on the offensive end.

Through the first five games of the series, Johnson, 35, was averaging 11 points and had the fourth-most field goal attempts (44) on the team. That was half as many shots as Wade had put up. Most expected Johnson to be the team’s No. 2 scoring option behind Wade in the playoffs.

“Anybody that's wants to get more aggressive I'm with them,” Wade said. “Joe is a great playmaker. He's a guy who can get into the teeth of the defense with his height, strength. I'm with Joe being more aggressive. But that's a question he needs to answer."

Johnson said shortly after he signed with the Heat he wanted to be a part of the team’s future. Friday, though, he sounded a little less committed.

"We'll see what happens in the summer. I can't predict that,” Johnson said. “I don't know what's going to happen. That's the least of my worries at this point. But being in this league for 15 years man I'm just happy to be here playing.

"It's been great [playing with the Heat]. I've enjoyed every bit of it. I was in a tough situation before I got here. This is definitely where I want to be. Being in this position down 3-2 to be honest with you is better than sitting at home watching."

> Coach Erik Spoelstra said combo guard Tyler Johnson would no longer be available only in an emergency role. Johnson was active Wednesday for the first time since undergoing left shoulder surgery, but didn’t play..

“He really got cleared three weeks ago by the doctors,” Spoelstra said. “But [team trainer] Jay [Sabol] really felt he needed two to three more weeks of strength training to build all the muscles up."

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hassan Whiteside discusses the state of his bruised right thigh before Game 4

CHARLOTTE -- Hassan Whiteside said he was expecting his bruised right thigh to feel better than it did Sunday when he sat out practice. That wasn't the case Monday and now he's going into Game 4 as a game-time decision.

Here's the exchange he had with us today.

Q: How are you feeling?

Hassan: "I'm on the Heat so I'm feeling good. My leg is a little sore. We'll see how it feels like at game time."

Q: Is it stopping you from doing things you would normally do?

Hassan: "I haven't done much on it. I did weights today. I did upper body. It went well. But I haven't done too much on it. I'll see how I feel around game time and go from there."

Q: Did you try running or jumping?

Hassan: "No."

Q: When you test it pregame is there going to be a level of pain tolerance you are going to be looking for?

Hassan: "I'm just going to try to go out there and try to do things I've been doing in games and see how it feels out there and go from there."

Q: Did the soreness or swelling get worse?

Hassan: "It's about the same."

Q: If you are able to play, what is your biggest concern?

Hassan: "Just not being as explosive as I usually am. It's just something I'm going to have to deal with regardless. I know there's going to be pain even if I do or don't play. It's just something I'm going to have to go through."

Q: What would it take for you to say you couldn't play?

Hassan: "Basically the training staff, I have to talk to them, and see how I move and then ask [myself] if you [I] out there and play [am I] hurting the team. I don't want to go out there and hurt the team."

Q: So if you had to put a percentage on it that you will play?

Hassan: "Game time percentage."

Q: You felt confident on Sunday you would play. Is this a step back?

Hassan: "I thought I was going to feel better."

When it comes to playoff debuts Whiteside in Hall of Fame company

Hassan WhitesideCHARLOTTE -- If you weren't plugged into Twitter or ESPN over the weekend, you probably missed an interesting statistical graphic ESPN Stats and Info put out that involved Heat center Hassan Whiteside joining some elite company.

Whiteside joined a group of only five players since 1984 to record at least 50 points, 40 rebounds and five blocked shots over his first three playoff games. 

The others: Hall of Famer centers Shaquille O'Neal, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson.

Perhaps the most interesting part of comparing Whiteside's first three playoff games to those four is that Whiteside accomplished those same statistical feats while playing far few minutes (91) than the rest of them.

Here's the list I found on

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Whiteside on Barkley compliment: "Am I on Punked?"

CHARLOTTE -- TNT analyst Charles Barkley has been saying all season he feels Hassan Whiteside is the key to the Miami Heat going deep in the NBA playoffs. 

Whiteside2Barkley has also been critical of Whiteside at times.

When Whiteside wasn't selected for the All-Star team, Barkley said: "This kid here has so much potential, but he’s so inconsistent. He’s not even close to an All-Star. Not even close ... if he played defense and got rebounds, they wouldn’t be where they’re at in the standings.”

Apparently, Whiteside remembers that a lot more than anything nice Barkley has to say about him.

Sunday, after TNT sent out a tweet of what Barkley had said about Whiteside following Saturday's Game 3 loss to the Hornets (see it above), I relayed the Tweet to Whiteside.

His response: "Chuck had some nice things to say about me? Am I on Punked? Is this Punked?"

Most Heat fans consider Barkley a Heat hater. He wasn't fond of how the Big 3 came together and often seemed to take joy whenever Miami lost.

Whiteside, meanwhile, didn't seem too moved by the new love from the Hall of Famer.

When I asked him what he thought of Barkley's comments Whiteside responded: "I guess he just read the scouting report."

Whiteside missed Sunday's practice with a bruised right thigh but fully expects to play Monday in Game 4. He said he was hurt late in the fourth quarter Saturday when somebody elbowed or kneed him as he was rolling to the basket.

"I'm icing it, stemming it and getting treatment," he said. "It's just a bruise. I'm pretty confident [I'll play tomorrow]. I'm a tough guy."

Friday, April 22, 2016

Whiteside finished ninth in Most Improved Player voting

Hassan Whiteside didn't win Defensive Player of the Year and he's not the league's Most Improved Player either.

The Heat's center and league's leading shot blocker finished ninth in the voting for the latter on Friday after finishing third for the league's top defensive honor earlier this week.

Portland's CJ McCollum took home the honors for Most Improved Player and Charlotte's Kemba Walker finished second.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Everything a disappointed Hassan Whiteside said about not winning Defensive Player of the Year

Sometimes it doesn't matter how many blocks you have or how bad you want something.

Hassan WhitesideMiami Heat center Hassan Whiteside learned that lesson Monday when he finished third in the voting for the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award. 

His reaction was hardly surprising. And the best part was it was real.

Q: Do you take any solace in finishing in the top three?

Hassan: "I mean it is what it is. My first full year in the NBA, being top three... I guess."

Q: How about having more votes than any other big man?

Hassan: "Um... I guess."

Q: Was there a letdown initially?

"I mean, I'm used to not getting credit for what I do. I mean, I'm not surprised. Let one of them guys get 10-plus steals in a game, you'all would be outraged. The world would stop."

Q: How far did you think you came defensively?

"I just learned the system. It's a hard system to learn, especially for the five man. It puts you in a lot of two-on-one situations. I got a lot better at it, playing in the Miami Heat system."

Q: Just from your body language it looks like you aren't happy.

"I mean I'm used to not getting credited for anything. I'm used to getting overlooked. I've been looked over my whole life. I'm used to getting overlooked."

Q: Does that leave a chip on your shoulder?

"It never left. It'll always be there. I got overlooked for All-Star. I got overlooked for this. I get overlooked at lot. I got overlooked for [NBA team] tryouts. I'm used to being overlooked."

Q: At the same time a lot of people had you second on their ballot. How about just being mentioned with Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green?

"I guess I'm thankful. I'm happy I'm there, I guess. I don't know. I'm not really. It is what it is."

Q: Does this add fuel to the fire?

"The first never left. I'm just going to keep coming out here, dominating. That's what I'm going to keep doing."

Q: You don't think third place was an accomplishment?

“I never get any credit for anything I do. It is what it is, bro.”

Q: Were you optimistic you would win?

"You put up historic numbers in blocks—What would you do?”

Q: Did you expect to win?

“Man, I expected to get overlooked. My whole life I’ve been overlooked. I’m used to it.”

Q: You still have your season goal?

“We’re in the playoffs. We’re 1-0. We’re the third seed. I’m not disappointed in the season.”

Q: Did you talk to Alonzo Mourning about it? He set that as a goal for you.

“I didn’t talk to him. Nothing to talk about. I came out there and I put up stats y’all ain’t seen in a decade. Ain’t nothing to talk about.”

Q: It wasn't just blocked shots -- you guys were a good defense, too. What did you learn from that?

"We’re a top-five defense in the NBA. It don’t gotta be blocked shots. We’re a great defensive team with great defensive players.”

Q: Are there parts of your defensive game you still have to improve?

“Obviously, if I’m not Defensive Player of the Year, so. If y’all don’t think so. Obviously there is. I’m gonna come back and improve everything, I guess. Just be a better defender, I guess."

Q: Are you going to focus on Most Improved Player now?

“I won’t win that. I won’t win nothing. I’ll probably never win any of that. I don’t win awards in the NBA.”



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