Throughout the NBA playoffs, a few players at the center position have flourished showing the rest of the league that there’s still a need for big bodies in the paint in the small-ball era.
Bismack Biyombo of the Toronto Raptors went from being a relatively unknown role player to a force to be reckoned with during the Eastern Conference Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although his season is over with the Cavaliers advancing, Biyombo has improved his value considerably with the 23-year-old set to hit the free-agent market in July.
Fellow free-agent-to-be Hassan Whiteside is making sure the Miami Heat and other teams around the league looking to improve their frontcourt this summer are taking notice of the re-emergence of the center position. Whiteside took to Twitter to make sure his performance during the playoffs as well as Biyombo’s and Serge Ibaka’s is being recognized:
If you haven't learned anything from watching the playoffs, it's clear how important the center position is.#NBAPlayoffs
— Hassan Whiteside (@youngwhiteside) May 25, 2016
Whiteside is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents this summer along with Kevin Durant, Al Horford, and DeMar DeRozan. After struggling to get back to the NBA level, Whiteside finally had his opportunity to shine in Miami last season with the seven-footer averaging a double-double and quickly becoming one of the best defensive players in the league.
The 26-year-old will be courted by many different teams this summer with the Heat set to have some stiff competition to retain his services once he officially hits the free-agent market in July. The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to make a run at Whiteside in free agency with the team desperately seeking an upgrade in the frontcourt alongside Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
Biyombo will also have his fair share of suitors in free agency and could receive a call from the Lakers brass as well. Although Biyombo will likely receive lucrative long-term offers from teams, Whiteside will be aiming for a max deal and will more than likely get what he’s looking for from the Lakers or elsewhere.