Hassan Whiteside, Heat ($27.09 million)
For a larger Heat salary, Hassan Whiteside sits atop the payroll at $27.09 million. His money alone can take this team below the salary cap, which is an intriguing prospect, especially if the New York Knicks take a second salary like Ryan Anderson or even Goran Dragic.
Anderson and Whiteside’s salaries disappearing can tease an opening for Jimmy Butler, who will listen to Miami if they call him once free agency opens, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. They likely need to clear one more contract, but moving these deals at least gets the ball rolling.
Whiteside on the Knicks adds another talented seven-footer. He can split time with Mitchell Robinson at center, but that may offer complications if head coach David Fizdale wants the second-year man to start and play heavy minutes from the regular season’s tip-off.
A hypothetical deal for Whiteside and Anderson also consumes over half of New York’s cap space, but if the Heat make it worthwhile with multiple first-round picks in order to work towards a star free agent, this is logical for the Knicks. These salaries clear after one season, and they have more draft capital for trades or to select rookies down the road.
It stems on Miami’s willingness to dive head-first into free agency and not stay patient, but as the Eastern Conference’s top teams lead with superstars, this is the best crop to make it happen with.