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Hassan Whiteside returns to the Kings ready to ‘rewrite’ his previous stint in Sacramento

The big man also addresses questions about him being a good teammate.

Hassan Whiteside was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010 NBA Draft with the 33rd pick in the second round. After things didn’t work out in his first two seasons with the Kings he exited the league to play in the G-League and then overseas. He returned to the NBA in 2014 in the G-League affiliate where his career was rejuvenated and he quickly found himself as a member of the Miami Heat. He averaged 11.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 2014-15 in 48 games for the Heat. His numbers earned him a four-year, $98 million contract with the Heat.

He now brings a career average of 13.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in his return to the Kings, which he signed a one-year veteran’s minimum deal with recently.

Whiteside, who is now 31 years old, is aware of how long it has been since the Kings made the playoffs and says he is excited to get a second chance to help change the culture.

“My first stint here I didn’t really get to show that. I think it’s a great opportunity for me. I always wanted to come back and rewrite that,” he said on a media call Thursday. “They are a very fast-paced team. I think that inside presence was what they were missing, that dominance in the paint. I know when we played against Sacramento, we just tried to slow them down and beat them up in the paint basically. That’s how we always played them, but I don’t think you are going to be able to do that too much longer.”

Whiteside averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for the Portland Trailblazers last season. With those type of numbers, one has to ask why he chose Sacramento to sign a one-year deal with and if there were other offers from contenders. Here is how he responded to that.

“I think in the long run, I think I already knew the area, I already knew the city. It was a chance to re-write something. I want to be a difference maker. I want to come in and be somewhere for a while, for a long time,” he said. “And a championship is never guaranteed, like I’m going to put that out there. It’s never guaranteed. So you can’t really say, ‘hey if I go to this team we’re going to get a championship.’ … I wanted to go somewhere where I can be a big difference maker and do something special instead of just riding on coattails and trying to jump on with other people.”

Whiteside said he already knows Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox and Cory Joseph, and plans to bring “off-the-court leadership,” and wants “to bring that force” on the court.

Whiteside has somewhat of a negative reputation based on previous reports over the years. There was Dwayne Wade calling for him to change his mentality in 2015, him leaving the bench before a game was over in 2018 (he said he just had to use the bathroom), him being frustrated by his role in Miami and some social media controversies. He was asked about the questions of him being a good teammate.

“I think I’m a really great teammate,” he said. “I still talk to my teammates in Portland, I still talk to my teammates in Miami. I don’t know too many bad teammates that still talk to their old teammates or still joke and send stuff on Instagram. I don’t know who still does that with a guy they didn’t get along with or so forth. I had a conversation with Dame [Damian Lillard] and CJ [McCollum] not too long ago. I still talk to guys. My old teammate in Miami is renting out my house. We still talk all the time so I don’t know where that is coming from.”

Gordan Dragic has said Whiteside is misunderstood and Lillard said Whiteside doesn’t “cause trouble.”

Whiteside elaborated more on the perception of him being a bad teammate.

“I joke more than anybody you probably ever met. Anybody that follows me on social media they know I’m the biggest jokester you ever met,” Whiteside said. “Maybe if I’m not joking they probably think I’m mad. I don’t know really where that came from. I’m happy to be in the NBA. I’m happy to live life every day.”

On Monday, new Kings General Manager Monte McNair spoke about what Whiteside brings to the Kings roster. Check that out here.

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December 3, 2020 5:09 pm

I bet Luke would make Whiteside iniatate plays because that’s how he rolls.

December 3, 2020 7:03 pm

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December 3, 2020 5:13 pm

All this time and all it took was one Hassan Whiteside to turn things around.

December 3, 2020 5:37 pm

I’m going to take him at his word. I hope he backs it up. He’s a big improvement over Len or Bagley in the 5 spot and arguably better than Holmes who I really like.

December 3, 2020 6:12 pm
Reply to  Mike120

Yeah what is there not to like about his reasons for joining the team? Sounded pretty sincere to me. We may be looking a gift horse in the mouth.

December 3, 2020 8:35 pm
Reply to  lutherRackley

Perhaps the likelihood that we were the only team or one of the few teams who actually offered him a contract?

And a one year, minimum contract? You’d think that he could earn more than that with his raw stats. Especially if he is such a good teammate and beloved by so many former teammates.

Something doesn’t add up.

December 3, 2020 11:20 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

You know I don’t like that way of reasoning. That we were the only ones to offer it. As if he’s some begger without options. We don’t know what he was offered. Kosta kofus is making like 6 million in Russia right now. I’m sure if Hassan wanted money, he’d be in Europe or China. Also, I’m sure teams with deep playoff run hopes wanted him on the minimum to be a back up big or insurance. I believe the guy when he says championship is not guaranteed. Sounds to me like he picked a team that’ll give him a good amount of minutes. If the team succeeds, he gets to rewrite the narrative and if the team fails, he’d prove that he could still put up big numbers.

Reality is that his style of centers are on their way out. He’s a Great shot blocker but now teams want guys like Bam. You can’t just be a shot blocker, you got to able to pass and shoot and defend on the permitter. Rudy Gobert will see the same outcome at some point watch. Like we will see next year with Drummond. But Lakers last year gave them hope and here we are building on that hope. But my point is that, that doesn’t mean we should assume they couldn’t get the minimum anywhere else. As a kings fan, I root for the underdog. Specially the ones that want to be here. Sure he was overrated but now he’s the underdog again trying to prove he still belongs. So let’s not hold out on the warm welcome on just him.

December 4, 2020 9:05 am
Reply to  Sir_tajj

Andre Drummond might be the first player to ever go from a max contract to the vet minimum without any injury or decline in his play. The league has just changed and players like him have been devalued.

December 4, 2020 9:54 am

Yup, he’s basically the same dude he was when he signed the (albeit ill advised) max contract. He’s really been played out of the league. I’m glad he got paid before that happened though

December 3, 2020 6:14 pm

I’ll give him some respect for the comment about wanting to play rather than jump on a championship bandwagon.

December 3, 2020 6:59 pm

Plot twist: Whiteside ends up becoming Sacramento’s savior and leads us to the playoffs!
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Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
December 3, 2020 7:12 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Only it happens on his third stint with the team in 2023.

December 3, 2020 7:27 pm

This is bad

December 3, 2020 7:28 pm

First post on the new site.. so let me first express how grateful I am for the work the TKH team does week in and week out. What a brilliant group of people. Kings fandom is such a demoralizing and foolish undertaking, yet somehow these folks consistently manage to find ways to make it look fun and intelligent. Cheers to the lot of you.

Anyway, for those of you who are worried that Whiteside will be too selfish or lazy to positively influence our young players, I just logged in to say that I strongly recommend reading through the comments about Whiteside’s recent departure over at Blazer’s Edge. LINK

Mostly encouraging stuff.

And I don’t care what anyone says — signing a player who was top-11 in PER last season (not to mention a league leader in multiple categories) to a one-year league-minimum deal in advance of a season where trade activity is obviously going to be rampant — is objectively good asset management. If he balls out and the team vastly outperforms expectations, great. If he balls out and the team still sucks, great. Super tradeable then. If he comes in and craps the bed, bench him and forget he exists for a few months, at minimal expense. Where is the downside?

Especially given the likelihood he had offers elsewhere and chose Sacramento. I believe him when he says he’s motivated for redemption here. I believe what Dragic and Lillard say about him, both guys who clearly take pride in their honesty and candor. And I believe that Monte wouldn’t just forget to consider the intangibles of a player with Whiteside’s reputation being around impressionable young players. He knows a lot more than we do on that front, guaranteed.

Much like MiseryLovedCompany in the other thread, I believe that Monte is setting the franchise up for a major swing-for-the-fences kind of move. MLC made a great point about how Monte saw firsthand how Houston managed to land Harden several years ago. It was all about flexibility. So I don’t think this is a full reset at all, I think there will be another all-star caliber player alongside Fox within the next 15 months and I think this Whiteside signing will, one way or another, help make that possible.

December 3, 2020 10:32 pm

I agree re Whiteside.

Who do y’all see being available within the next couple of seasons that is an All Star level player? Of course so much can change, but any thoughts at this point?

December 3, 2020 10:58 pm
Reply to  CarinaM707

James Harden…. Anyone on the Pels, anyone on the Nets, Kemba Walker, Wiggins, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson. Someone wo needs to be moved to free cash, Any other guy who might get sick of his situation and want to be the man, the co-man.

December 3, 2020 7:30 pm

Always wanted Whiteside to have a second stint in Sacramento. Love the energy he brings – he was always a fan favorite in his first gig with the Kings – and his return is nothing short of a godsend. Tremendous value he brings as a defensive stopper – he is definitely worth more than what he is getting paid – its time to let people know they aren’t coming into Sactown and walking all over us. We never forgot about you buddy, welcome back!

December 3, 2020 10:22 pm
Reply to  Convoy

Is this the upside down?

December 3, 2020 8:44 pm

I want him to play hard, play well, and then get traded mid season. Win-win for everyone involved.

December 4, 2020 12:23 am

just signed up because the coverage over here is fantastic

It’s been said before. I just don’t see any downside to this signing.

It doesn’t take minutes from a younger player.
It isn’t a short term overpay.
It doesn’t have long term consequences for the cap.
Didn’t trade anything to get him.
Offers a decent “look we tried” excuse to camouflage the tank.

It is,in fact, not a very Kangz signing at all. I like it.

December 4, 2020 4:54 am

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December 4, 2020 5:42 am

Did we sign Ramsey yet? Hes a great player!

December 4, 2020 6:55 am

If you were the coach, who would you start at center: Whiteside or Holmes? To me it is easy. I predict Whiteside is the starter, and I would think long and hard about Barnes at the PF.

The problem with Barnes is he is a non-creative mechanical offensive player. He does not have enough juke moves to create advantage. So you put him at PF where he can face up against slower dudes and hopefully get his offensive game going with more consistency.

When players get older it is not uncommon for them to move a position down, i.e. SF to PF.
If Barnes gets muscled by bigger PFs you have Whiteside behind him to erase the play.

Bagley is not a starter bc he has not played enough basketball so you want to play against second units to get a rhythm. Ideally he supplants Barnes after 10-20 games but you want him to feel good about himself first.

I am not a fan of Bjelica bc he does not offer anything when his shot is not on. I have seen enough of his slow footed apathy. Barnes is an apathetic player too, so let’s limit ourselves to one, not both.

With Whiteside patrolling the paint providing that defensive and rebounding presence, we can afford to go smaller at the other positions with lineups like this:

PG – Fox
SG – Buddy
SF – Woodard or Robinson III
PF – Barnes
C- Whiteside

Then you have Holmes, Bagley, Ramsey (and Kyle Guy!) as the high energy Bench Mob. To me this is a non-brainer. The odd man out is Bjelica.

This is how our coach should be thinking, instead of falling back in conditioned strategic choices.

Walton is a clown beclowning himself if he is logging Bjelica 20-25 MPG. It is uninventive and unispired nonsense. Been there done that.

If you want to see Walton fired, mabe you should root for him to play Bjelica 20-25 MPG, i.e the Proven Failure Template!

The counterargument is Bjelica provides spacing for our 5-out. But he is not uptempo. He is not a defender. The pro is outweighed by the cons to where you have a net neutral player at best just like Baze high energy was outweighed by his delusional scoring mentaility.

As the season wore on last year, Bjelica was settling for shots 5-10 feet behind the 3 point line. I don’t care if you can make it, thats not high percentage offense, it is bailing out the defense.

I am going on record saying Whiteside is the starter, and Barnes should be the starter at PF. And Bjelica should be a cheerleader while our new acquisitions and Bagley are allowed the chance to emerge.

December 4, 2020 7:01 am
Reply to  kings4ever

No shot Bagley doesn’t start.

December 4, 2020 7:13 am
Reply to  HandOfTheKings

With all the time Bagley has missed he needs to get comfortable on the floor first. And det his confidence and “mojo” back. That is faciltated playing him against second units.

December 4, 2020 8:23 am
Reply to  HandOfTheKings

I just recalled that Bagley was given the starting role, but then being out-performed, and need to come out as the 2nd unit in the bench.

December 4, 2020 7:11 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I forgot to add DaQuan to my analysis, high energy defender and good spot shooter, another reason that Bjelica is squeezed out of the rotation.

December 4, 2020 7:21 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I disagree that the Bjelly does not offer anything else, I’m not saying he is a stud player but he does well and help defense rebounds decently. Again not saying all star level but he’s a pretty complete player and he plays within the team

December 4, 2020 7:48 am
Reply to  Want2win

We really don’t need Bjelica’s rebounding with Whiteside at 13.5 RPG. Barnes can get us 5-6 RPG from the PF spot.

Bjelica is a pretty good low post defender, but that value is mitigated by having Whiteside in the paint to help out weak side.

Barnes is the more switchable defender and keeps his man in front of him better than Bjelica.

Your team is faster and more versatile with Barnes at PF and opens up more minutes for our rookies , Jefferies, Robinson, etc.

Again, it is concerning how willing Bjelica was to launch from 30 feet. Obviously the guy is too slow to beat his man off the dribble. We need attack mentality players, drive and kick for 3s , not “if I can see the rim frm the parking lot, it is a good shot….”

December 4, 2020 8:27 am
Reply to  kings4ever

But you need some shooting at 4-5 when Bagley and Holmes are playing…or when Whiteside is on the floor.. if Bagley is on floor you need Bjelly on floor and probably Robinson and or Barnes for enough size etc.. Bjelly is a useful player depending on matchups and does offer flexibility.. not saying we should start him.. but he does have good value

December 4, 2020 9:39 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Bjelica was the most efficient offensive player on the roster last season, outside of Holmes, who is a cleanup guy.

I mean, I think some of the rest of this is a fair argument, but Bjelica has been a big part of the spacing of the offense. It’s why the team has been significantly better offensively with him on the floor since he’s been here.

December 4, 2020 7:47 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I think it’s matchup dependent. If you’re going against Phoenix with Ayton or a big Lakers team, you start Whiteside. If you’re going against the Warriors or a team with less of an offensive inside presence, go with Holmes. I think we’ll see a lot of starting lineups this season. The only two players that are pretty much guaranteed to start when they are healthy are Fox and Barnes because they are clearly better than their replacements. Everyone else is a role player and when their role is needed they should be in the game. Should be a fun season. The roster, while not terrific, can throw a lot of different looks out there.

December 4, 2020 9:32 am
Reply to  kings4ever

It’s some kind of world when a 42% shooter from beyond the arc is accused of “bailing out the defense”. He shoots out there because he’s got range out there.

He also passes the ball well, and he’s been a solid defender in the team concept (such as it’s been). There’s a reason the guy has been one of the best players on the roster the last few seasons (at a bargain rate, as well).

December 4, 2020 7:28 am

Demarcus cousins and Whiteside both drafted in same year.. after this season Hassan will have out earned Demarcus by over 11 million…huh health matters

December 4, 2020 10:01 am
Reply to  Want2win

Wow. That’s absolutely insane. The timing of Cuz’s injuries has been so unfortunate. Same with IT

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