The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly planning to make a pitch to Hassan Whiteside this summer, but the Miami Heat center is unaware of the talks linking him to the struggling franchise.
Whiteside, whose Heat team will play the Lakers on Wednesday night, admitted in an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he has not heard of Los Angeles' interest in him.
"They've been talking about me and the Lakers?" Whiteside said. "I didn't know that."
The Lakers could use a huge portion of their projected $55 million cap space in the offseason to offer a maximum deal to a big-name free agent. While the Lakers are also being linked to superstars like Kevin Durant, Whiteside will be an upgrade to their current frontline players like Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr.
However, Whiteside sounded like he holds a grudge against the Lakers, revealing that Los Angeles had a chance to sign him in 2014 before the Heat offered a contract to him.
"I worked out for the Lakers before I worked out with the Heat," Whiteside continued. "So, I mean, they've seen it. They had a chance to see what I could do."
Whiteside, who eventually had a breakout season last year after signing a two-year deal worth $1.75 million, said that he felt he did well during the workout witnessed by current Lakers coach Byron Scott and team officials.
"I know Byron Scott was there and a couple of other front-office guys," Whiteside revealed. "It was like a two-on-two workout. I did it before I worked out for the Heat. Obviously, they went another direction. But I think L.A. knows what I can do."
The Lakers reportedly signed Wayne Ellington instead of Whiteside, who ended up inking a deal with the Heat. He immediately made an impact, as he averaged 11.8 points and 10.0 rebounds on top of 2.6 blocks in 48 games, including 32 starts. This season, the 26-year-old is averaging 14.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks a game.
From earning $1.75 million in two seasons in Miami, Whiteside could eventually sign a maximum deal this offseason, which could give him more than $20 million per season. The former Marshall standout will be a coveted free agent this summer, but he has already declared interest in staying in Miami.
"I like the organization," Whiteside said of the Heat via Sports World News. "Pat Riley is always going to do a great job of adding people that are going to help you win. It's not hard to sell to come to Miami. You can always recruit great talent."