MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Following the 2019 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat are welcoming rookies Tyler Herro and KZ Okpala to the team, but a familiar face is reportedly expected to stick around for the 2019-20 season.
Hassan Whiteside is not leaving the final year of his Miami Heat deal on the table.
A person with knowledge of the situation said Friday that Whiteside is exercising his $27.1 million option for next season in Miami. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Heat nor Whiteside announced the decision publicly.
The move was not a surprise. It’ll be the final year of Whiteside’s four-year, $98 million contract with the Miami, and the salary he’ll command next season will keep him as the highest-paid player on the Heat roster.
Whiteside averaged 12.3 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds last season, appearing in 72 games and starting 53 of those. He also averaged only 23 minutes per game, and at times expressed his displeasure about not having a larger role.
“He’s going to come to training camp like everybody else this year and earn it,” Heat President Pat Riley said Friday, several hours before the option was exercised.
For his career, Whiteside has averaged 13.4 points and 11.4 rebounds over parts of seven seasons with Miami and Sacramento. He led the NBA in blocks per game in the 2015-16 season, then led the league in rebounds per game the following season.
He’s third on Miami’s all-time blocks list behind Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade, and fifth on the team’s all-time rebound list behind Udonis Haslem, Mourning, Rony Seikaly and Wade.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)