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Wednesday's Heat Links: Whiteside's free agency plans could also be about next contract

Mavericks may have inside track to Heat free agent Hassan Whiteside: fter hearing what Hassan Whiteside said when he met the Miami media over the weekend, the Dallas Mavericks probably feel pretty good about their chances of signing the Heat’s free agent center. Whiteside played in the National Basketball Development League three times, and also was waived three times in the NBA. Then he finally received an honest chance with the Heat, where he flourished the past two seasons. -- Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Dwyane Wade's Heat free agency again could be a rocky road: The Miami Heat's delicate dance during Dwyane Wade's ventures into free agency apparently has been renewed. Despite the result of his previous two uneven forays into free agency delivering him back to 601 Biscayne Boulevard, the path again evidently will not be a neat, straight line. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Pat Riley's next act defines his last act with Heat: LeBron James mentioned what it looked like once, all of Pat Riley's championship rings landing on the table before him, not so much dumped from a velvet bag with a metallic clank as a notably richer tone. ... It wasn't just seven championship rings before him that summer night in 2010 at their free-agent summit. It was those seven, plus the duplicates of each ring Riley has in yellow gold, sterling silver and platinum to match any chosen attire. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Source: Erik Spoelstra nearing Heat coaching extension: A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed Tuesday to the Sun Sentinel that the Miami Heat are in the process of finalizing a contract extension for coach Erik Spoelstra. On the same day Yahoo Sports reported progress on a multi-year extension, the party familiar with the talks told the Sun Sentinel that the process, "looks promising, as you'd expect." -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Whiteside's free agency could be about next contract, as well: As a playmaker and defender, Gary Payton spent his Hall of Fame career thinking one step ahead. He now is urging Miami Heat free-agent center Hassan Whiteside to consider the same. Having spent the weekend alongside Whiteside at the NBA's 3-on-3 stop on Biscayne Boulevard, Payton stressed that Whiteside should weigh more than immediate financial gratification when it comes to Friday's start of the NBA's open bidding. -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade ready to test free agency, report says: Dwyane Wade was hoping his contract negotiations with the Miami Heat would go smoother than they did a year ago. ... Apparently, the Heat and the future Hall of Famer have gotten off on the wrong foot once again. -- The Miami Herald

Heat, coach Erik Spoelstra closing in on multi-year extension: Erik Spoelstra and the Heat are closing in on a contract extension beyond the 2016-17 season, according to Herald sources. His current contract ends after the 2016-17 season. Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report. -- The Miami Herald

Assistant Juwan Howard to coach Heat's Summer League team in Orlando, Las Vegas: The Miami Heat’s summer league team, which begins play in Orlando this Saturday, will be coached by assistant Juwan Howard, the team confirmed on Tuesday. Howard, 43, has been an assistant under Erik Spoelstra since the start of the 2013 season and is getting his first chance to coach in a lead role. Spoelstra, who is getting married later this summer, will attend segments of both summer league events. -- The Miami Herald

Heat’s Pat Riley has built contenders many different ways: Seems the Miami Heat always are under construction since Pat Riley arrived in South Florida 21 years ago. Build it up, tear it down. Build it up, tear it down. Rinse. Repeat. Like the area he has come to call home, Riley always is planning, developing, expanding and improving. -- The Palm Beach Post

Juwan Howard to coach Heat’s summer league team: With Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra preparing to walk down the aisle and become a married man next month, assistant coach Juwan Howard will slide over into the big chair on bench. The Heat confirmed to The Post that Howard will coach the Heat’s summer league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas while Spoelstra gets married and honeymoons. It is a major opportunity for Howard, who played the final three seasons of his NBA career with the Heat before retiring in 2013 and joining the coaching staff. -- The Palm Beach Post

Josh Richardson: Hassan Whiteside taking a ‘business approach’ into free agency: What will center Hassan Whiteside do in free agency? Not even friend and teammate Josh Richardson has that answer. “I don’t have a clue,” Richardson said Tuesday afternoon after making an appearance at the Heat’s summer basketball camp. -- The Palm Beach Post