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Lakers News: Hassan Whiteside is savoring being a highly-coveted free agent

The center is excited for his first big payday.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, reports surfaced that the Los Angeles Lakers planned to "aggressively pursue" Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside at the start of free agency. They will be far from the only team, and on Sunday, Whiteside made it pretty clear he's fairly excited about the prospect of NBA general managers falling all over themselves to attain his services.

"I was calling those teams," Whiteside told Ethan J. Skolnick of the Miami Herald, referring to how he was toiling away in the D-League and overseas prior to the Heat signing him to a small two-year deal in 2014. The Lakers were actually one of the teams to work out Whiteside before he was ultimately snatched up by the Heat, but chose to go in a different direction at the time.

If they want Whiteside this summer, they are going to have to offer significantly more than the veteran's minimum. For a player who has made just over $3 million total in his career, the prospect of a max deal probably sounds pretty great. If the Lakers offer one they may just have a chance to sign the premier shot blocker, because he didn't exactly give a firm commitment that he wanted to stay with the Heat:

Whiteside wants to get his free agency wrapped up quickly, but he says he'll be looking at everything and considering a ton of factors before choosing his next destination:

The Lakers definitely don't have "everything" just yet, but they do have a lot of positives to offer Whiteside. The team has a young core, and we already know he's a fan of at least one of the players in it:

The team additionally has a ton of money to go get other veterans to suit up alongside him. It remains to be seen if that's enough to sway arguably the top center on the market, but the Lakers certainly should give it a try.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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