I witnessed a glitch in the Matrix (if you don’t know, look up the film The Matrix) while in the Miami Heat locker room. For one moment, I had to say to myself this just happened in this NBA team’s locker room.
The Heat fined center Hassan Whiteside an undisclosed amount Sunday for “comments detrimental to the team” in response to his remarks Saturday night expressing frustration with his role.
Whiteside told the media how he was feeling in the moment, going on an expletive-laden tirade after Miami’s 110-109 overtime loss Saturday to the Brooklyn Nets, when the Heat missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot, saying he should play more and might be better elsewhere.
Whiteside’s playing time has fluctuated this season. Whiteside didn’t play in the final 21 minutes on Saturday — the last four of the third quarter, then all of the fourth quarter and overtime. The Nets went small, so the Heat went small.
The Heat’s highest-paid player questioned why the team is matching up when “we’ve got one of the best centers in the league.”
“A lot of teams don’t have a good center,” Whiteside said. “They are going to use their strengths. It’s bulls—. It’s really bulls—, man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center.”
Whiteside, who has missed 29 games this season because of injury, had seen his playing time average decrease to 25 minutes in 2017-18, down from 29.1 minutes in 2016-17, when he finished as the league’s leading rebounder. The previous two seasons, he averaged 32.6 minutes.
Playing in his second game back after a nine-game absence because of what was described as left hip pain, Whiteside finished with 14 points, six rebounds, and two blocks.
Asked if the situation has caused him to contemplate his future in Miami, Whiteside replied, “I don’t know. Maybe.”
Whiteside, 28, has two years remaining on a four-year, $98 million deal.
After the glitch ended, the flowers bloomed Easter Sunday.
The President of basketball operations for the Miami Heat is Pat Riley. I will make a bold statement and say he was not happy about the words that were spoken out of the mouth of Whiteside. Riley will take the words literally and most likely unhappy about it. All of it goes against the “Heat Culture.”
Yes, Hassan is a competitor; he is the highest paid player. However, there is a more professional way to say what he stated. I am grateful for the access as a media member, but there are words I know that can be noted behind closed doors. Better yet, tell the media “I need to meet with Pat and Erik, I am unhappy.”
The banter on both ends may not be agreed upon. However, the ran could have been a bit more G rated.
Erik Spoelstra told reporters Monday that he met with Whiteside to discuss the center’s rant after Saturday’s game and that the team is “moving on.”
“It’s behind us,” Spoelstra added, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “You can tell right now by the mood of the gym that’s long gone. The only reason we’re addressing out of obligation to all of you because it is a team matter, a family matter. We’re focused on getting the next one and securing our spot in this dance.”
Okay, however, the Matrix was a three-sequel film. To be continued.