MIAMI -- Waiting until the day after Thursday's flurry of NBA draft-related trades, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has opted into the $27.1 million final season on his contract.
Whiteside now becomes trade eligible for the first time since the Feb. 7 NBA trading deadline.
An NBA source familiar with the option decision told the Sun Sentinel that, contrary to reports, there has been no trade request made, nor would there be such a demand.
"There's nothing like that," Heat President Pat Riley said after the draft.
Whiteside lost his starting job at the end of last season, when coach Erik Spoelstra elected to start Bam Adebayo at center and Kelly Olynyk at power forward.
Whiteside is completing the four-year, $98 million contract he signed July 1, 2016, when the Heat prioritized his free agency over the retention of franchise mainstay Dwyane Wade. The Heat also pursued free-agent forward Kevin Durant that summer, with Whiteside at the time offering to take less if Wade was retained and Durant added. Wade instead signed with the Chicago Bulls, Durant with the Golden State Warriors.
Whiteside said at season's end that he would enter the offseason conflicted.
"You definitely want to have the money," he said. "But you also want to play."
Whiteside was reduced to a reserve role after missing three games in late February and early March with a strained left hip. He averaged 23.3 minutes per game in 2018-19, the fewest in his five seasons with the Heat, down from a high of 32.6 in 2016-17.
At season's end, he said, "It's going to be an interesting summer."
It still could be for the shot-blocking big man, with other teams interested in swapping out equal or more onerous contracts in exchange, although the Heat are unlikely to take on additional salary beyond the coming season.
Guard Goran Dragic, who also had a June 29 deadline for his player-option decision, last week opted into his $19.2 million for 2019-20 on the final season of his contract, also making him trade eligible for the first time since the trading deadline.
Whiteside at season's end reflected on his decision to re-up with the Heat in 2016.
"When I re-signed with the Heat, it was more of an impulse. I made a decision of re-signing with the Heat, I've got to live with it," he said.
Less than a year after that agreement, the Heat then selected Adebayo with the No. 14 pick in the first round of the 2017 draft and three weeks later added 7-foot Olynyk in free agency.
Whiteside turned 30 on June 13.
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