Hassan Whiteside and the Heat are officially at war
Hassan Whiteside told his side of the story, and now Pat Riley is telling his.
The Heat president criticized his center on Monday after a season of discontent that ended with a five-game first-round loss to the 76ers.
“By the time we got to the playoffs I don’t think he was ready,” Riley said at his end-of-season press conference. “He wasn’t ready. He wasn’t in great shape. He wasn’t fully conditioned for a playoff battle mentally. He, and we, got our head handed to us. The disconnect between he and Spo (Erik Spoelstra), that’s going to take a discussion between them and it’s going to take thought on the part of coach and also Hassan.
“How will Hassan transform his thinking, 99 percent of it to get the kind of improvement that Spo wants so he can be effective? How can Spo transform his thinking when it comes to offense and defense and minutes or whatever?”
Whiteside has frequently complained about his minutes or lack thereof this season, including after the series against Philadelphia. Whiteside played 77 minutes in the series, totaling 26 points and 30 rebounds.
“Not being out there,” Whiteside said, according to the Miami Herald, when asked what most frustrated him from a team perspective. “Not being out there. At least give me a chance to fight. At least give me a chance to fight. I can understand if I was playing 30 minutes and I played bad. At least give me a chance.”
Whiteside is halfway through a four-year, $98 million contract that the Heat are likely regretting. The team, which went 44-38 this season, is still searching for an identity since the LeBron James era ended.
Riley started Monday’s press conference with a 15-minute monologue on how change has been a constant throughout his 23 seasons with the Heat, how the team landed transformative superstars like Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal in trades and Wade through the draft and LeBron James and Chris Bosh in summertime deals.
Come July 1, the Heat will be active on those fronts again — noting that the fan base is clamoring for more.
“Well, we’ll give them more,” Riley said. “We’ll try to give them more. That’s what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here. That’s what [owner Micky Arison] has been doing, trying to give you more if we can. But we’re not going to do anything that isn’t smart. We will never do anything that’s really going to hurt the franchise.”
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