The Miami Heat are doing great with most of their young stars – Josh Richardson, Goran Dragic and Kelly Olynyk – responding magnificently to head coach Erik Spoelstra. So where does this place forgotten big man Hassan Whiteside?
The 28-year-old defensive demon has been quiet as of late, a far cry from the noise he made the previous seasons. Injuries have taken its toll on Whiteside, a factor that could twist the hand of Heat President Pat Riley to consider an NBA trade.
Whiteside had a lot of suitors the past years. Much of this stemmed from the fact that he was seen as a rising big man who could protect the rim with gusto. For the 2017-18 NBA season, the 33rd pick of the 2010 NBA Draft has been struggling to get it going.
Whiteside did start the season on a high note. He starred for Miami against the Orlando Magic, dropping 26 points and 22 rebounds. However, the big man missed some games due to knee injuries. These have hindered his run and have placed his durability in question.
Will the Lakers bite?
There is no telling what the Heat plan to do. In theory, one team which could give Whiteside a try would be the rebuilding Los Angeles Lakers. For this to materialize, the Lakers will have to unload some personnel.
Brook Lopez is the first player that comes to mind though Riley is likely to want younger legs. Julius Randle is a possibility but a straight one-on-one seems a bit farfetched.
If ever it does gain ground, adding other players to the mix may be needed. Whiteside is on the second year of his $98 million contract and is still owed roughly $52 million for the next two years (2018-2020) before becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Randle also has two years left on his deal with the Lakers. However, the 23-year-old’s contract is worth only about $9 million. As one can see, the numbers are far off. To make it happen, additional players may be needed.
The Lakers could consider packaging Jordan Clarkson, Corey Brewer and Josh Hart with Randle, Sir Charles in Charge reported. At first, the deal may see lopsided considering it would be a two-for-four trade scenario.
Lopez could take away some names from the mix if he were to be traded. According to Spotrac, the 29-year-old holds a $21-million one-year deal, a big chunk that could offset the difference in figures. But this is if Riley and/or Spoelstra are interested.
Ironically, Lopez and Whiteside have their history of injuries. Lopez has endured issues with his feet while Whiteside with his knees. Looking ahead, it could work. If not, expect a multiplayer trade – if Riley warrants it and the Lakers are interested.