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- Tom Thibodeau heaps praise on Pat Riley, looking to mimic Miami Heat culture with New York Knicks
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- Video: Jaylen Brown blows kiss to Miami Heat bench after making back-to-back 3s
- Video: Udonis Haslem seen ripping into Miami Heat players in 3rd quarter of Game 5
- Dwyane Wade speaks on how ‘personal’ LeBron James Lakers vs. Pat Riley Heat matchup would be
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Miami Heat Rumors: Heat to Go After Al Horford If Unable to Retain Hassan Whiteside
- Updated: June 27, 2016
The Los Angeles Lakers plan to “aggressively” pursue Whiteside and the Dallas Mavericks have made him a top target. To make matter worse, the Golden State Warriors are reportedly going after the big man if they are unable to land Kevin Durant.
That may have Heat fans worried, but the team is prepared to move on if the Marshall University product signs elsewhere. According to ESPN’s Dan Le Betard, the Heat will have Al Horford as their backup option:
“You’ve got a backup plan. Horford would love to be here. That’s the backup plan,” Le Batard said. “It’s not a great backup plan but it’s the backup plan. But you have a safety net on swinging big…”
Horford may not be the superstar Durant is or the elite defender Whiteside is, but the Atlanta Hawks big man is an All-Star fans will want on their team. The nine-year veteran has career averages of 14.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists.
Striking out on Durant won’t hurt as much as not re-signing Whiteside. However, Durant is a former MVP and will command all the attention. If the Heat have a decent chance at acquiring the Oklahoma City Thunder superstar at the expense of losing Whiteside, they might be willing to let go of the center.
With Horford and a ton of other big man available, such as Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Bismack Biyombo, the Heat may have to accept the reality of losing Whiteside. Unlike before, it now appears the team has a significant backup plan. Acquiring Horford could be argued as an upgrade compared to retaining Whiteside.
The 30-year-old is well-mannered, has a ton of skill and desires a championship above all else. Rather than having to be constantly mentored, Horford will be a leader, adapt easily and take care of business on the floor.