Miami Heat fans’ favorite NBA columnist thinks Hassan Whiteside could be on the outs, calling the polarizing center “one of the most interesting situations developing.”

“This is a guy who is going to get a max contract in the summer. I firmly believe that,”  Brian Windhorst said on Zach Lowe’s podcast. “He’s absolutely in my mind, and I know the Heat organization reasonably well, he’s absolutely not a Heat player. His style of play, his personality, and the way he goes about his business is not congruent with the way the Heat normally go about themselves. They also have the Wade issue where they’re gonna have the difficulty of affording Wade and another max player. To me, the Heat have a decision to make and that decision is very simply do you ride out the season with Whiteside with the real possibility that you’re losing him and you basically lose him for nothing but maybe he helps get you to the second round, which would be really good for that team, or do you package him with [Luol] Deng and try to get something before the deadline?

Lowe questioned what Miami can get for Whiteside and Deng while Windhorst floated out Pelicans big man Ryan Anderson, which ESPN colleague Tom Haberstroh mentioned as a possibility earlier.

“Whiteside is interesting to me because the Heat have been better with Bosh at center,” Lowe said, “and by the way, I guess Bosh is just always gonna be underrated. Bosh has been incredible this year. He’s playing so well. Nobody ever talks about Chris Bosh.”

Lowe also thinks Whiteside is “getting a bad rap” with everyone talking about how the team has been better defensively with him off the court.

“This number that the Heat are better defensively with him off the floor is just repeated ad nauseam by every broadcast team every time the Heat play,” Lowe said, “and I guess it matters but what’s never mentioned is I don’t know how much of that has to do with the fact that he’s a starter and so he’s facing opposing starters and the Winslow or Deng-at-power-forward lineups that have been so good defensively are facing hybrids or full-on bench units. That never gets mentioned to me.

“When I do see Whiteside play, I see a guy who is not a great second and third effort player… He is a legit good rim protector, sometimes great, who has a nice, soft touch in the post, who can score on the pick and roll and this one number that the Heat are better defensively over a 40-game span or a 35-game span with him off the floor is weirdly coming to define his career in a way that makes me a little uncomfortable…I just think Hassan Whiteside the basketball player is pretty good and people are talking about him like he’s something else.”

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