With the February deadline approaching, NBA trade rumors are continuing to circulate on the internet with regards to teams making potential moves. Some of the speculation seems realistic while other rumors are just fun to contemplate. A team that has been in disarray ever since LeBron James left town is the Miami Heat and there’s been ongoing rumors they might try to swing a deal to become relevant again. Could their big man Hassan Whiteside be involved in some sort of major deal between the Heat and a suitor such as the Portland Trail Blazers?
According to a recent segment from ESPN Radio, NBA analyst Zach Lowe mentioned that no player is considered “untouchable” when it comes to the current Miami Heat roster. That includes one of their biggest assets, Hassan Whiteside, who is leading the team with 14.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and a 55.6 percent field goal percentage per game. He’s also second on the team with 17.6 points per contest, making him a double-double threat each night he plays. That makes him a huge value when it comes to making some sort of deal.
Lowe specifically mentioned Whiteside while speaking on the NBA radio program.
“Up and down the roster, literally every player. Literally, no one is untouchable, not even Hassan Whiteside, by a long shot.”
So could that mean Whiteside is getting dealt as soon as this season? As Sportsrageous speculates, one possible deal that looks like it could work out is for the Heat to consider sending Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers. In exchange, Miami would receive All-Star guard CJ McCollum, and some other players and picks to sweeten the deal.
As of this season, McCollum averages 23.8 points a game which is second only to the team’s leading-scorer Damian Lillard. The two form one of the top backcourts in the league when it comes to packing a scoring punch. Right now, Portland is also in the playoff mix with an 18-24 record, but they’re barely hanging on to the eight spot in the Western Conference. Adding a player like Whiteside down low could possibly help them improve their chances. The Trail Blazers rank No. 25 in the league in rebounds per game and No. 26 in defense, making for two categories Whiteside could help them improve in.
With a dismal 11-30 record Miami is far off from contending for the postseason in the Eastern Conference this season. The departure of Dwyane Wade during the summer and the lack of the Heat to solve their issues with Chris Bosh’s medical situation have hurt as they are clearly in rebuilding mode. Pat Riley is known for swinging big deals such as bringing stars like Shaquille O’Neal or LeBron and Bosh to South Beach, but right now the Heat may be better served with future talent.
Just this past summer, Whiteside inked a deal at close to $100 million to put him under contract with the Heat until 2020. It’s clear he’s not a major scoring threat, but he’s certainly the sort of inside presence most teams want. That makes him valuable to many teams in the league, but in particular the Miami Heat. It seems smartest for Pat Riley and Miami to hold on to their big man for now and see what other top picks they can acquire in the upcoming NBA Draft.
The NBA mock draft over at the Draft Express website speculates that right now Miami could have the No. 2 pick and might take UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball. The 6-foot-6 guard is just 19-years-old and averaging 14.5 points, eight assists, and 5.4 rebounds a game. As ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman notes, the freshman guard has made an immediate impact for the Bruins, has great passing ability and court vision that sets him apart from other prospects. With that in mind, should he end up declaring as many talented college prospects do with just a year of experience, the Heat may be in line to pick up another component for their talented future roster.
While a Hassan Whiteside deal seems fun to contemplate right now, it also seems as if keeping him as part of the core roster is a smarter move going forward rather than shaking things up with a trade.
Basketball fans, do you think the Miami Heat should consider trading away Whiteside in the near future, or is a long term asset for this franchise to keep in South Beach? Would McCollum be a good fit for Miami and help them improve their playoff chances for the future?
[Featured Image by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]
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