Hassan Whiteside will stay with the Miami Heat, he announced in a Players' Tribune first-person article. His new deal will be a four-year maximum contract, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. That would come out to a four-year deal worth about $98 million depending on where the final salary-cap number falls.
Whiteside also announced the decision on his famous Snapchat account.
Whiteside has also reportedly agreed to some "wiggle room" in his contract if Kevin Durant decides to sign with Miami, according to Ethan Skolnick.
Rumors coming from Whiteside's camp suggested he was going to end his free agency as quickly as possible and he did exactly that. On July 1, the first day negotiations could begin, he set up meetings with the Heat and Mavericks, and Dallas actually appeared to be in the lead. Hours later, though, he announced that he'll return to Miami.
One has to wonder if this takes Miami out of the Kevin Durant chase. As we noted, it will be nearly impossible for Miami to make the math work on new contracts for Whiteside, Durant and Dwyane Wade. Miami will still meet with Durant in New York on Sunday.
The 27-year-old center broke out with the Heat during the 2014-15 season, and developed into one of the Eastern Conference's premiere big men this year. He originally played with the Sacramento Kings from 2010 to 2012, but made stops with countless D-League teams until finding a landing spot with the Heat. Once there, he found his calling as a blocking machine who continually improved on the offensive end of the court.
Whiteside averaged 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and a league-leading 3.7 blocks per game this season. He injured his knee in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Raptors, and the Heat lost in seven games. He's still developing his game, and improved his free-throw shooting drastically this season, jumping from 50 percent from the line in 2014-15 to 65 percent this year.
Following the season, Pat Riley said signing Whiteside would be the Heat's No. 1 priority and kept his word. Despite interest from teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, Miami was able to keep their star big man in South Florida.
With the status of Chris Bosh still in flux, Whiteside is going to be counted on to produce even more than he did last season. Whiteside will be expected to lead the Heat even further into the postseason not as a role player, but as a star.