By Chase Eyrich
This season hasn’t panned out the way any Miami Heat fan would have liked.
The goal was to stay competitive, make the playoffs and give Dwyane Wade the farewell tour he deserves.
The franchise would never be able to give back to Wade, what he’s been able to give to them. But what we are seeing isn’t what he had in mind, when he made the decision to come back.
For better or for worst, the Heat missed out on the Jimmy Butler situation.
Now, there’s not much they can do with their roster.
The bed has been made.
But does Miami really have to lay in it?
The Heat have more depth than they know what to do with. Head coach Erik Spoelstra having the ability to change his rotation is a positive of that.
Against the Toronto Raptors, he was forced to use a different rotation than what fans are usually used to seeing. Hassan Whiteside picked up twice as many fouls as he had points (four fouls and two points), and was limited to only 12 minutes.
Even with the night ending in a loss, this was possibly the best situation for Miami. It forced Bam Adebayo not only into extended minutes, but also into a career-performance.
Two nights prior, Adebayo produced his first double-double of the season.
Against Toronto, he had secured a double-double in the first half.
The team played faster, shared the ball better and were more efficient with Adebayo in the game.
Whiteside has posted high numbers this season. There have been plenty of games with double-doubles, filled with 20-point performances, matched with 20-plus stat padding rebounds.
However, while his stats look impressive, they’re empty.
His game doesn’t make the rest of the team better and that’s continued to hurt the Heat this season; six times Whiteside has finished with a plus/minus of -10 or worse.
Miami is better off with the potential of Adebayo, than the “impressive” numbers of White-side.
The only issue is that trading Whiteside is almost an impossible task.
Finding a team willing to adopt Whiteside’s contract and tendencies, while actually acquiring a solid asset in return, seems like a long shot.
This gives the Heat two options.
One, leave the money on the bench. There is likely a time that the Heat need a big man like Whiteside. Whether it’s because of a matchup or injuries, it doesn’t hurt having him on your roster.
The second option is a lot more difficult: buy him out.
It would be expensive, but it would send a message. President Pat Riley could use it as a statement to the rest of the team that there are expectations no matter what you are being paid.
Plus, this would obviously free up space for the Heat and while it would be bold, it may be in their best interest.
The situation isn’t ideal, but neither has this season been. So at this point, the Heat are forced to either accept the reality of this season, or make a move.
This article originally appeared in The Westside Gazette.