The Miami Heat fell victim to the pesky Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night in overtime, 110-109. One notable member of the Heat missing from the floor during the late stretch of the game was Hassan Whiteside. He’s only two years into a huge four-year, $98 million contract signed back in 2016.
Heat fans have hoped he would break through and become an All-Star center but the 2017-18 season has been a down campaign overall. He’s suited up for only 49 games due to various injuries this year after posting two straight seasons of at least 73 games played. Saturday night appears to be the breaking point for Whiteside and his frustration with his minutes.
Whiteside played 20 minutes on Saturday recording 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks in his time on the court. It was only his second game back after missing nine previous contests and asked out of the game only 4:40 into the first quarter. He played sparingly throughout the remainder of the game but he did not see the floor during the fourth quarter or overtime.
It appears the trend of sitting him late in games, when he has been healthy this season, has frustrated Whiteside to the point of publicly calling out the coaching decisions and questioning if he will play with Miami in the future.
Following coms from Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Whiteside, playing his second game back after missing nine with a strained hip flexor, began the brief postgame interview calmly.
Asked if removed himself from the game just 4:40 into the first quarter because he was winded, Whiteside said: “You’ve got to build your conditioning backup. Coach wanted me to sub myself out as soon as I felt really winded.”
Asked how tough it is to watch from the bench when the opponent goes small, Whiteside said: “It’s annoying. We shouldn’t. Why are we matching up? We’ve got one of the best centers in the league. Why are we matching up?
“A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They are going to use their strengths. It’s bull [expletive]. It’s really bull [expletive], man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center. [Expletive]. That’s one of them. That’s bull [expletive].”
Asked if he tried to discuss it with one of the coaches during the game, Whiteside said: “I don’t know if it’s because I’m on a minutes restriction. The minutes have been like that all year. It’s really frustrating. It’s been frustrating. It’s tough. I don’t know, man. It’s crazy. I don’t understand it.”
Asked if this has made him question his future with the Heat, Whiteside said: “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Whiteside – who had 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks Saturday – then was asked who he should take that up with – management, the coaching staff or his agent.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”
A Heat public relations official then ended the interview.