Pat Riley loves Hassan Whiteside as much as Whiteside loves cake

Ball Don't Lie

Everyone loves red velvet cake, but nobody worships the delicious dessert quite like Hassan Whiteside.

The recovering Miami Heat center's chef whipped up a dyed chocolate layer cake covered in cream cheese fit for a 7-footer, and Whiteside dubbed the dessert "church" after he'd eaten two-thirds of it.

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In a series of Snapchat videos cobbled together by Instagram user houseofhighlights, Whiteside offers up communion in the form of cake to his friends before eating another slice to the tune of Hozier's "Take Me To Church" and sending the remains "back to the heavens" from the balcony of his high-rise penthouse.

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With his Heat now ousted from the playoffs following a seven-game series against the Toronto Raptors, Whiteside deserves a treat after a career year averaging a double-double with an NBA-best 3.7 blocks per game, especially if it makes him feel any better having missed his final four games with a knee injury.

Although, on the precipice of a max contract offer in free agency, Whiteside should probably avoid going to church every Sunday, because a boatload of butter and sugar probably isn't in the offseason diet plan.

Speaking of offseason plans, Heat president Pat Riley has made Whiteside as high a priority as the latter has made red velvet cake. Telling reporters at his annual end-of-season media session that the 26-year-old is his highest priority, Riley said he'll be waiting on word from the free agent at 12:01 a.m. on July 1.

Of course, Riley being Riley, he also made it known he won't start negotiations at the max contract level.

"I want to build a team that can win, and he's got to be part of that," added Riley. "I really believe it's important for him to be a part of that. Now, when you get to the other part of negotiations, then you find out how much he wants to win, too. That doesn't mean anybody needs to take a haircut or anything, but it's all part of the game." 

The "wants to win" comment brings back memories of Riley's "if you've got the guts" press conference aimed at LeBron James back in 2014, and we all know how that worked out. Because Miami does not own Whiteside's full Bird Rights, they cannot offer the incumbent team's all-important fifth year in free agency. Riley's only advantage against other suitors contractually is being able to offer a slightly higher annual raise — a difference of about $3.8 million on a four-year deal in the $89.4 million-$93.2 million range.

If Riley isn't willing to pay Whiteside the maximum, he'll lose that advantage, which is probably why he's resorting to a "wants to win" ploy that won't even make sense when another promising team makes him a max offer. One way or another, Whiteside will get the max, and $90 million can buy a whole lot of cake.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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