Whiteside staying with Miami Heat as Pistons, Drummond work on five-year max deal
The choice to stay in Miami was easy to make for Hassan Whiteside. AP

STAN Van Gundy is working on a deal to keep his big man in the middle, while a coveted center didn't need much wooing as Hassan Whiteside is staying put in South Beach.

The Detroit Pistons were negotiating a five-year maximum contract offer with All-Star center Andre Drummond early Friday morning, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.

The two sides started negotiating the contract after the market opened Friday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been completed.

Meanwhile, unrestricted free agent Whiteside announced his decision to stay with the Miami Heat on his Snapchat account and on The Players Tribune. 

Whiteside met with the Heat and the Dallas Mavericks early Friday, before posting teasers on Snapchat that he was going to decide after a few hours. His next post on the social media platform was a photo with a caption "#HeatNation it is," before explaining his decision on The Players Tribune piece entitled "Where I'm Headed."

"I've played on eight teams since college — from Reno to Sioux Falls to Sichuan, China. I am not ready for there to be a ninth," Whiteside wrote.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed but Whiteside ended his explanation saying he, "can't wait get to get back to work and try to bring another championship to Miami. #HeatNation." 

On the other hand, Drummond is a restricted free agent who can draw a maximum contract worth around $125 million according to NBA salary cap rules. The Pistons would have had the right to match any offer made by another team, but Van Gundy made it clear from the start that the burly center wasn't going anywhere.

Drummond averaged 16.2 points and an NBA-leading 14.8 rebounds for the Pistons last season, giving Van Gundy a powerful force in the paint to slug it out in the rugged Eastern Conference.

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His strength, size and throwback game certainly give the Pistons a different dimension in today's small-ball NBA.

He has fast become a cornerstone of what Van Gundy is trying to do in his Detroit rebuilding project.

Put simply, there seemed no way that Van Gundy was going to let Drummond walk.

Drummond's scoring and rebounding averages have risen annually, and he was an All-Star for the first time this past season. The numbers he put up last season were the most robust by a Pistons big man since Bob Lanier in 1972-73.

And it was almost a certainty that Drummond would be rewarded with a massive contract, especially with the salary cap soaring from $70 million this past season to somewhere around $95 million for next season.

The only thing slowing Drummond down is a 35.5 percent free throw rate that causes Van Gundy to bench him late in games when opponents foul him on purpose to put him on the line.

Van Gundy has said he is confident Drummond can make drastic improvements in that area of his game to make him and even bigger force for Detroit.

ESPN first reported the negotiation.

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