Quite the performance by Hassan Whiteside of the Heat in Tuesday night’s loss to the Hawks: 23 points on 11-for-12 shooting, 14 rebounds and four blocks in just 31 minutes. If Dwyane Wade had not come down with a migraine, the Heat might actually be 3-1 instead of 2-2.
Folks in Miami are rightfully thrilled about the emergence last season and this season by Whiteside, but here is the bad news: Unless Miami plans to renounce its right to Dwyane Wade, there is almost zero chance they can retain him when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Whiteside is on the second year of a two-year contract, and when it expires he will become what is known as an “Early Bird” free agent — as opposed to a “Full Bird” free agent who is coming off a contract of three years or more.
So the Heat cannot offer him a max contract, while plenty of other teams can.Mike Scotto addressed this in his list of the Top 25 Free Agents of 2016, and Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel went into further detail:
“With Whiteside to fall short of full Bird Rights due to only a two-year tenure with the team, the Heat still will have to create salary-cap space to re-sign him next summer. The only way for the Heat to go over the 2016-17 salary cap to re-sign Whiteside would be if he would sign for the average salary as part of his Early Bird Rights, a figure of less than $10 million, one expected to be far below his market value.”
I passed along this information during an interview on the Big O show on AM560 in Miami today, and it hit the host — and a bunch of listeners, I am certain, like a ton of bricks.
Give a listen and you will see what I mean.
Chris Sheridan is publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter.