(Image courtesy of Yahoo Sports)
Recently, The Miami Herald reported that HEAT fans should expect Miami to shop their maximum-contract center. Only a year removed from leading the league in rebounding, and two years removed from making an ALL-Defensive team, Hassan Whiteside may find himself looking for a new home. The big man was once one of the most feared shot-blockers in the League and even led the NBA in swats during the 2015-2016 season. His prowess as a rim protector came out of nowhere, as Whiteside was out of the league from 2012 to 2014. Yet, the big man was so unplayable in this recent playoff series that he could only earn 15 minutes of burn per game.
Regardless, we have seen what Whiteside can do. The man is elite at protecting the paint. Can he regain his form somewhere else? Perhaps Whiteside needs a fresh start…but where?
Trade 1: Whiteside to the Windy City
Bulls Get: Hassan Whiteside Miami Gets: Robin Lopez
Remember, the ESPN trade machine has not updated its contracts yet. In reality, Lopez has one year left on his deal for 14 million, while Whiteside has two years left for 52 million (ouch.) Despite this, Miami gets what it wants and the Bulls get a roll of the dice at a reclamation project.
The HEAT badly wants to move off of Whiteside’s contract. Lopez expires after next year. What’s more, his expiring contract will be incredibly valuable and could be used in a trade for another playmaker. Chicago is rebuilding and in a position to take on salary. Whiteside and his rim protection is a wonderful fit next to IAmMarkkanen. Considering how Coach Hoiberg displayed his coaching chops this year, he could be able to turn around Whiteside’s career.
Trade 2: Southeast to Southwest
Suns Get: Whiteside Miami Gets: Chandler and Knight
Ew. There is nothing sexy about this trade. But, Miami gets to save about 14 million dollars of cap space in the long run. Trust me, they are going to need it. Chandler allows them to give some quality minutes while Bam prepares to take over his starting spot. Knight is the tough pill to swallow, but his inclusion is what makes this trade fair.
Phoenix gets a shot at Whiteside, who has All-Defensive team potential. Bender is not ready for center minutes yet anyways so Whiteside could make this team watchable until another center comes along. They get rid of Knight who has been a zero since he landed in Phoenix. What screws this up? If Phoenix drafts a big man, or if they plan on signing veteran free agents in 2019, then this deal is done.
Trade 3: The Holy Trinity of 3-Way Deals
Portland Gets: Whiteside, Lamb, Monk and a Charlotte First Rounder
Miami Gets: Turner and Kemba
Charlotte Gets: CJ and Winslow
I am trying really hard to figure out who this trade doesn’t make sense for, but guess what…I really dig it.
Why would Miami do it? By the last year of Whiteside’s deal, they would be saving around 10 million dollars. In the meantime, they get to pair Dragic with another dynamic guard. If you think Kemba and Dragic won’t fit well together, I suggest watching a game of basketball. Multiple playmaker lineups are in vogue and this one will work because both of these dudes can play off of the ball. Bam and Olynyk can split center duties. Sure, losing Winslow will be tough, but could they eventually resign him anyways? Richardson, Johnson, and Waiters (all wings/guards) will be making over 40 million when its time to resign Winslow. Bringing on Evan Turner is tough, however, the guy is playable.
Why would Portland do it? By bringing in Whiteside, they can let Nurkic walk. Nurkic would probably cost the same amount of money Whiteside would, except Whiteside’s deal will expire two years earlier. He gives them a defensive element that they sorely need (see Pelicans, New Orleans.) Many in Portland want a change. They can bring in 2017 draft stud Malik Monk as well as a future first. Jeremy Lamb is only 25 years old, on a great deal and just had a career year from deep. Portland gets to move off of Turner’s bad contract while retooling their roster on the fly. A small lineup of Dame, Monk, Lamb, Aminu, and Whiteside has some serious potential.
Why would Charlotte do it? Getting CJ is great value for Kemba, especially given his expiring contract. Winslow has shown some serious growth this past year and should blossom when healthy. They have to give away a future first but they would have two solid building blocks for the future. Giving up Monk may be a lot, but perhaps they could get Miami to send a future first their way to compensate a little bit.
BOTTOM LINE: There are very little trades out there that work for everyone. Whiteside’s contract is horrendous, plain and simple. The HEAT wants back an shorter contract and there aren’t too many matching salaries out there. Good luck, Pat Riley.