Hassan Whiteside has narrowed his list to three teams with whom he will meet immediately after midnight in New York City. The Miami free agent will meet with the Dallas Mavericks first, who should be considered the favorites at this point, per The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. They'll be followed by the Portland Trail Blazers and then the Heat, who hope to retain the player who started much of the past two years for them at center.
It's surprising that the Los Angeles Lakers dropped completely out of contention, as they were considered clear contenders for the center just a week ago. However, Whiteside has ruled them out, leaving just the three teams who all plan to offer him the max: four years at $94.8 million, starting at $22.2 million the first year.
Whiteside's had a strange career path, as the 27-year-old was playing in Lebanon and then the D-League just three years ago. When he got his chance with Miami, people wondered for months if the Heat weren't actually better with him off the court, in part because he's prone to abandoning fundamental defense in favor of blocking shots. But Whiteside showed marked improvement in his final half season in Miami, and there's no doubt he commands the max from suitors.
Whiteside also said he wants to make his free agency decision on July 1. There are rumors that he could decide shortly after the meetings have concluded. The lead that Mark Cuban's Mavericks appear to have taken is helped by Miami's Kevin Durant dilemma, but a meeting with him means anyone is a threat to sign him.
Chandler Parsons won't return to Dallas
The Parsons era is over, as the Mavericks never offered him the max contract he desired, and interest between the two sides quickly fizzled from there. Parsons would have re-signed in Dallas had they sent a four-year, $95 million deal his way, but there's "no chance" the two sides reconcile at this point, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
Instead, teams interested in Parsons include the Trail Blazers, the Lakers, the Magic and the Grizzlies. Memphis is hoping to sign Parsons while also retaining Mike Conley, who will be heavily pursued by Dallas. In their best case scenario, they'll not only grab one of Dallas' departing free agents but also keep the Mavericks' top target. (Conley and Whiteside were reportedly dual top targets for Dallas.)
When free agency begins, Parsons will meet with a group from Portland that will include Damian Lillard, per MacMahon.
The 76ers are eyeing Jordan Clarkson
After three seasons of tanking, Philadelphia finally seems to be a player in free agency, hoping to add young talent to their already promising core of prospects. One name that fits that category is Jordan Clarkson, a restricted free agent for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Although the Lakers certainly like Clarkson, they may like him only if he's being paid a certain amount of dollars. Philadelphia has a chance because they can sign him to a multi-year deal that drastically increases in the third and fourth seasons, due to a clause in the CBA inspired by Gilbert Arenas.
Sixers (or others) would offer deal where Years No. 3 and 4 were MUCH bigger than 1-2. Enough to make them think about cap monkey wrench.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) June 30, 2016
Clarkson could join a Philadelphia backcourt that is also receiving Dario Saric, a No. 12 pick in the 2014 Draft that has stayed overseas until now.