• It sounds like Hassan Whiteside would like to stay in Miami, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

    If the money is the same elsewhere, Whiteside’s preference is to stay in South Beach. It’s not really surprising, considering the strength of the organization’s reputation and the handy fact that Florida has no state income tax.

    The Heat could be looking to convince Whiteside into taking less than the max, as they could still offer him a competitive salary while maintaining a little more flexibility going forward. Whether the league’s premier shot blocker is interested in such a discount remains to be seen.

    It’s a small gamble by the Miami brass, as there will be no shortage of teams prepared to make Whiteside a max player. He’s openly stated that winning is his number one goal but it’s still unlikely that he’d leave money on the table, as this summer is his first chance to really cash in on his success.

    Locking him up as soon as possible would be big for Miami, as it would help clear up the cap picture and make the Heat look like a much better destination for other free agents.

    It takes two to tango, of course, but as of right now both parties seem ready to dance. Pat Riley has declared the young center to be Miami’s top priority this offseason, so it’s looking like Whiteside’s return to the Heat could be little more than a formality at this point.

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