South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)
WITHERWHITESIDE?: There appear to be dueling messages fromthe SacramentoKings when it comes to a potential role for formerHeat center HassanWhiteside, who signed with theKings for theNBAminimum. Coach LukeWalton entered camp stressing more“five-out” sets, whichwould mean no big man in the paint on offense.“I think there are going to be some tweaks that’s going to allow different ballhandlers to handle,” forward Harrison Barnes told TheAthletic.“Not necessarily as much of a post presence, potentially five-out and things like that to really just kind of open up the floor and let guys create.” And yet, whenWhitesidewas added, newgeneral managerMonte McNair said,“Whatwe reallywant is the roster versatility to be able to match up with any teamor any situation, and somebody like Hassan gives us not just size but shot blocking, finishing on offense, rebounding on both ends, and I think he’ll be a good complement to the rest of the guyswe have on the roster.”
MOREHASSAN: Of being back with the teamthat drafted him in the second round out ofMarshall in 2010, Whiteside said of his uneven initial tour with theKings,“I alwayswanted to come back and rewrite that.” Asked about the notion of being a bad teammate, nowon his third teamin as many seasons, he said,“I think I’ma really great teammate. I don’t knowwhere that’s coming from. I look around. I don’t knowwhere that’s coming from.” MORETHANMONEY: Yes, the divorce between Jae Crowder and the Heatwas inevitable once the Heat declined to go more than one season with guaranteed money in free agency. But upon his arrival to the Phoenix Suns, Crowder said the Dallas Mavericks actually offered more than the $30 million over three years he received fromthe Suns.“I just envisioned a bigger role formyself on this team,” Crowder told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.“When I sat back and I thought about it, obviously, Dallas is a place where they drafted me. I will always have love forDallas,” said Crowder, who entered theNBAin2012 as a secondround pick with Dallas.“Whenever I sat back and took both phone calls and I hung up both phone calls, I envisionedmyself here in Phoenix overDallas.” To Crowder, itwas another challenge, similar to helping push the Heat to last season’ s NBA Finals .“You look at a teamthat has not been to the playoffs in11 years, I want to be a part of the reasonwhywe got back onto the winning side,” he said.
ASFORJ-RICH: As it is, theMavericks already had been boosted by the addition of formerHeat swingman JoshRichardson in a pre-draft trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. Mavericks coachRick Carlisle is hailing Richardson as a complement to LukaDoncic.“We’ve been looking for a guy that can guard point guards and be able to score offthe ball, or be able to take the ball and let Lukawork offthe ball,” Carlisle said.“And I think he gives us that kind offlexibility.” Richardson said he trained with Doncic in Santa Barbara, Calif., beforeDoncicwent No. 3 in the 2018 draft.“Wemet because he came out there to train for a summer,” the 2015 Heat second-round pick told the Mavericks’ website .“The first time we played, I came back toMiami and told some ofmy best friends,‘I justmet this kid and he’s going to be the first pick in the draft.’ I still think he should have been, but he lived up tomyexpectations so far and more. We’ve been cool since.”
BUBBLEBONUS: FormerHeat guard TylerJohnson said returning to the Brooklyn Nets after his solid showing at theNBA’s Disney bubblewas a no-brainer, considering itmeant the opportunity to play with KevinDurant andKyrie Irving.“It’s veryrare tobe in a situation where you have a teamthatwants you, that’s going to be putting themselves in a position to compete for a championship,” Johnson said.“That’s what Iwanted to be a part of. Howthat evolves for memoving forward, we’ll see, but being around great players raises your level. That’swhat Iwanted to be around.”
FORTHEAGES: Jimmy Butler’s performance with the Heat after turning30 at the start of last season has the Charlotte Hornets confident that they can realize something tangible this season from freeagent pickup Gordon Hayward, who turned 30 on March 23.“I thinkJimmy had a pretty good year,” Hornets GM Mitch K up ch a ks aid .“I think the best years for anNBAplayer, when their mind catches up to their body, are between the ages of 28-32. So I think[Hayward] still has at least two, maybe three, solid years where he can play at a high level.” The Hornets, of course, paid Hayward $120 million over four seasons.
NumberformerHeat forwardJae Crowder now willwear for a sixth consecutive team(Celtics, Cavaliers, Jazz, Grizzlies, Heat, Suns) afterwearing 9 with theMavericksas a rookie. He will be the first Phoenix player towear the number.