Hassan Whiteside says he is at peace after what grew into a tumultuous end to his tenure with the Miami Heat.
Dealt a week ago to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the machinations that led to the Heat's acquisition of free-agent guard Jimmy Butler, the shot-blocking center said he is embracing the next chapter of his NBA career, rather than looking back on a Heat tenure that ended as a reserve.
"You ever been on a beach, just chilling and drinking a nice water, looking out at the sunset? That's how I feel," Whiteside said when introduced by the Blazers during the Las Vegas summer league.
Even with his benching in favor of Bam Adebayo and moments of disappointment over his treatment by Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, Whiteside said there were no hard feelings upon his departure.
"Anybody that was around me in the locker room, my teammates and all that, it was a great environment for us," he said. "I was there for six years. We definitely had our ups and downs through six years, but I think it was definitely more good than bad.
"I can still call anybody today – Pat (Riley), Coach, any of the team – and we'll still laugh it up. I don't really think it was a problem, because if it was that big of a problem, I wouldn't have been there that long."
From the moment he was dealt, Whiteside has cited the spacing the Blazers can provide with the shooting of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, which he believes will allow greater latitude for operating in the paint.
"This is a fresh start," he said. "I really think this team is on the verge of doing something really special.
But he also dismissed the notion that he had grown disenchanted with the Heat.
"I think a lot of stuff, if we did have a problem, it's because we were losing and as a competitor you always want to win," he said, with the Heat missing the playoffs two of the past three seasons, with just a single playoff victory over that span. "You know, I feel like it was a down year since we didn't make the playoffs and that does something to you in the offseason. You're at home watching other teams play, you want to be out there."
Whiteside will have an ample early opportunity, with Portland starting center Jusuf Nurkic expected to miss at least the first three months of the season while rehabilitating from left leg fractures.
"We can improve defensively in other areas by having a guy like Hassan back there," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.