Hassan Whiteside is the face of a losing franchise, just like he never wanted

The Miami Heat convinced Hassan Whiteside he's their franchise player, and now he's acting like one. (Getty Images)
The Miami Heat convinced Hassan Whiteside he’s their franchise player, and now he’s acting like one. (Getty Images)

When asked about his impending free agency this past March, Hassan Whiteside told reporters, “I don’t want to be the face of a losing franchise. You want to be the face of a winning program.”

The 7-footer then re-signed with the Miami Heat over the summer on a maximum four-year deal worth $98.4 million, and nine months after his prescient remarks, he is the face of a losing franchise. The Heat fell to 9-20 this season following Tuesday’s double-overtime loss to the Orlando Magic — a third straight defeat and eighth in 10 games that left the team’s “franchise player” wanting for more.

Asked if he was getting enough late-game touches in clutch situations following what he described as “the most disappointing loss of the season,” Whiteside gave the response reporters were looking for:

“They say I’m a franchise player,” said Whiteside, via The Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro, a bandage covering the three stitches he required over his right eye for an in-game elbow. “I would think I should get more, but I don’t know, man. I don’t think so, to be honest, but coach is going to coach.”

This all started in May, when Heat president Pat Riley called Whiteside his No. 1 priority in free agency — a proclamation that may have irked Miami mainstay Dwyane Wade enough to leave for the Chicago Bulls. Riley softened that stance after Wade left and Whiteside stayed in July, calling his new $94 million man “worth the investment,” while urging media not to weigh the Second Team All-Defensive center’s performance against his contract. Far be it for media to ever weigh production against salary.