Elite big man Hassan Whiteside re-signed with the Miami Heat during 2016 NBA free agency, but in a recent interview with Erik Gundersen for the Miami Herald, he revealed that the Portland Trail Blazers were his second choice.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
The answer from Whiteside was interesting, considering that Portland hasn’t figured prominently in the previous telling of his free agency courtship.
The Trail Blazers pursued Whiteside in free agency before turning their attention elsewhere. In the first year of his new contract with the Heat, Whiteside, 27, is averaging 17.3 points and a league-leading 14.8 rebounds, as well as 2.4 blocks per game.
The Trail Blazers’ most notable deficiencies have been rebounding and interior defense.
Given the unfortunate blood clot concerns that have prevented All-Star power forward Chris Bosh from playing in Miami this season, retrospect suggests that both Whiteside and the Trail Blazers may have had a better shot at success had free agency played out differently.
Be sure to tune in as the Trail Blazers (10-10) host the Heat (7-12) tonight at 7:00 p.m. PST.