Hassan Whiteside rejected a guaranteed multi-year deal in the Chinese Basketball Association to sign a non-guaranteed two-year deal with the Miami Heat.
“I never aimed for the money,” Whiteside told Yahoo. “Before I came to the NBA last [season], per year, I would have made more going to China than on my Miami Heat contract. If I went, I might have just stayed in China. I wasn’t chasing the dollars, though. I was chasing the dream of becoming an amazing NBA player. All of that comes, obviously. The contract, the fame. Even before I knew anything about money, I was a little kid and I didn’t know how much these players made. I wanted that – to be on TV, to have people looking up to me.
“Once I left the NBA, I realized what I lost, realized the lessons that I needed in order to stay. I always had faith to keep pushing. It’s tough just to be in the league. There are only about 400 guys in the NBA, so any position that you play, it is impossible. I had a tough journey and I’m still writing my book.”
Whiteside will be a free agent in the offseason and the Heat do not own his Bird rights.
The Iowa Energy acquired the rights to Whiteside from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Iowa's coach, Bob Donewald Jr., wrote a letter to Whiteside before training camp.
“I told Hassan: You have a clean slate here,” Donewald told Yahoo. “His reputation wasn’t where it needed to be, so this was his chance to work. He worked and worked, pouted, and then got back to work. Rinse and repeat. We wanted to make sure he got back to being a grinder. We had to forget about whatever happened in Reno, whatever happened with the Kings.
“When I was with Paul Silas as an assistant, Paul would always say, ‘Cream rises to the top.’ For a player like Hassan, that was the consistent message. And the cream rose.”
Donewald pressed Whiteside in practices and fil studies.
“What do you want out of Iowa?” Donewald asked.
“I want to be the starting center,” Whiteside told the coach.
“No, I want you to leave here and make tens of millions,” Donewald replied.