Whiteside said he has been in constant contact with teammates, especially those who face the possibility of leaving via trade or free agency. He feels “very confident” forward James Johnson and guards Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters will be back next season. All played key roles in the Heat going from an 11-30 start to narrowly missing the postseason.
Waiters and Johnson become free agents July 1 while Dragic is constantly mentioned in trade rumors.
“I’m not even thinking about them being gone,” Whiteside said. “I’m thinking like they will be here next year.”
If the core returns, Whiteside believes the Heat can contend in the Eastern Conference. They played the second half of the season without forward Justise Winslow, who underwent shoulder surgery in January, and lost several players to injuries throughout the year.
Agent: Gordon Hayward Unlikely to Return this Season Following Surgery
Celtics All-Star forward Gordon Hayward is unlikely to return during the 2017-18 season, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Hayward underwent surgery to repair a dislocated left ankle and a fractured tibia in Boston on Wednesday night, a procedure that Bartelstein labeled a success.
“We expect him to make a full recovery and return to his All-Star form,” Bartelstein said.
Ben Simmons on NBA Debut: ‘It felt like I was playing 2K’
Ben Simmons finally made his long-awaited NBA regular-season debut against the Wizards in Washington on Wednesday night. And after his extended wait to wear the Philadelphia 76ers jersey in a meaningful game, he said he felt initially like he was in a video game.
“It felt like I was playing 2K, honestly,” Simmons said postgame.
“Just looking at Joel Embiid out there with the lights on his jersey. I was like, ‘man, I’m actually here.'”
Simmons was drafted with the first overall pick by the Sixers in the 2016 draft, but he missed the entire 2016-17 season while recovering from foot surgery to repair a Jones fracture. He suffered the injury on Sept. 30, 2016, less than a month before the start of the regular season. The Australian was originally expected to miss three months, but was eventually ruled out for the entire season.
Source: Nick Metallinos of ESPN