While many assume the Miami Heat will retain Hassan Whiteside this summer, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders says “if the Heat try to play games, sources close to the situation say Whiteside will go shopping.”

The narrative around Whiteside has been that he’d like to stay in Miami. He’s comfortable there, has had success there and they can pay him the most money of any team in the league. Assuming that’s the offer from the HEAT, there is a better than average chance he signs a new deal. If the HEAT try to play games, sources close to the situation say Whiteside will go shopping.

Now whether the shopping would be to apply pressure on the Heat in an effort to squeeze out maximum dollars or whether he’ll truly shift his focus to other teams is important.

Also, does “play games” mean offer anything less than the max?

There is a sense that Whiteside is one of the top names on the Lakers’ wish list of free agents, with the Celtics also interested. The problem with trying to peg either as having some edge over the other neglects that Whiteside could be the most obtainable free agent in the class and likely gets a lot of interest beyond those two suitors.

I would disagree with Kyler in that Whiteside is “the most obtainable free agent” because all indications are he will stay if the price is right. Even if the Heat don’t offer him a max deal, they can still offer him more money than any other team because of the lack of a state income tax along with being able to offer him higher annual raises.

So if Whiteside wants to stay and desires the most possible money — both realistic assumptions — staying in Miami is a simple decision.

League sources said this weekend that Whiteside is getting a full max deal – the question is will it be from the HEAT or someone else?

This last part seems silly regarding Kyler hearing from “league sources” Whiteside will get a full max deal. As mentioned earlier, he can still sign with Miami for less than a true max and still get more money than he could get elsewhere.

Considering Chris Bosh’s questionable health, Whiteside’s game-changing potential, and Pat Riley’s affinity for large men protecting the rim, there has to be a better chance than not Whiteside returns.

Then again, if negotiations spiral out of control and Whiteside is demanding that “full max deal,” something the Heat may be unwilling to offer, a polished big man like Al Horford would be a stellar Plan B.