Hassan Whiteside delivered a bold statement on Sunday when attending the Mountain Dew NBA 3X tournament. “I think we got a chance next year, honestly,” said Whiteside regarding the Miami Heat's ability to contend for the NBA championship next season. Most Miami Heat fans will applaud Whiteside's ambition, but were his words too audacious?

Miami Heat can contend?

Hassan Whiteside is confident the Miami Heat does not need to assemble a super-team in order to contend for the NBA title. Looking at the Heat roster, it will be imperative for the organization to add a force in the perimeter. Bringing back Dion Waiters and James Johnson, and further developing players like Tyler Johnson and Justise Winslow, would enable the familiar unit to stay intact and entice other players to join their solid squad.

"Them guys can become superstars themselves. So you might not even have to go get anybody else. It might be enough," said Whiteside in reference to Dion Waiters and Goran Dragic. The Heat understand that adding key players to the team is the only way they will be able to make noise once again in the Eastern Conference.

Miami Heat's free agency

Whiteside wants to play a big role in terms of recruiting big-name free agents this summer. He is the centerpiece of the Heat team and feels the obligation to lead and elevate his team to greater heights. Whiteside is all-in after having gone through free agency himself last summer and, ultimately, opting to remain with the Miami Heat. It looks like it will be a big summer for the Miami Heat, and Whiteside will try to leave his mark.

The Miami Heat can be ambitious during the free agency period. Their ability to clear the hefty salary of Chris Bosh enables them to have roughly $38 million in cap space. This means that the Heat can pursue stars like Gordon Hayward or Blake Griffin, while also trying to convince their own valuable free agents, namely Dion Waiters and James Johnson, to come back at a fair price.

Whiteside said that he is “very confident” that he will be playing again with the two next season.

Whiteside expanding his game

Whiteside is doing his share of work to help the Heat elevate their game next season. The 27 year old center says that he is ready to expand his game in a significant manner.

Becoming an efficient 3-point shooter is his next goal. Many big men in the NBA are joining this trend in order to contribute more to the higher paced, positionless game we are all witnessing.

Whiteside averaged 17.0 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks last season, but believes he can still move his game to another level. He does not wish to become a perimeter shooter for any means, for he still wants to make a name for himself by dominating the opposition inside the paint, and there are only a few who can still do so in the NBA.

The Miami Heat fans will be expectant to see what Whiteside and the team have in store for them next season. These fans have been used to a high level of success in the last decade.

Whether they will eagerly jump on Whiteside's bandwagon and boldly announce their candidacy to become NBA champions as soon as next season remains to be seen.

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