The Miami Heat did not use 28-year-old center Hassan Whiteside much in the 2018 NBA postseason and could move on from him this offseason.
According to Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson, the organization is “expected to explore” trade options for the big man this summer. Whiteside still has two years left on his contract.
Zach Lowe speculated whether the Heat would be interested in pursuing a sign-and-trade during the offseason for DeMarcus Cousins (via ESPN):
“Hassan Whiteside’s trade value has fallen so low, the Pelicans may not be interested in any sort of swap. Whether Miami would be, even with Cousins’ injury, is a fascinating question.”
Tom D’Angelo described the trade value of Whiteside at an “all-time low” in a recent mailbag. He believes the Miami front office may even need to add someone like Josh Richardson or Justise Winslow for another team to be interested in taking on Whiteside.
Perhaps they could also take on a disgruntled player and/or someone with a large contract to ship the big man. In a column published in January, Lowe wrote that Whiteside and Winslow are the most realistic trade package for Miami.
One scout recently speculated on what an offer might look like to land the big man (via Miami Herald):
“You could get a lottery pick, but a late lottery pick. I could see a first rounder and a decent player — a rotational guy — but not a lottery pick and a decent player. I would be shocked if you got an all-star for him. No way.”
There were also “rumblings” about the Los Angeles Clippers eyeing a swap of him for DeAndre Jordan, though that seems unlikely. Instead, look for these teams to emerge as the leading candidates for Miami.
Matt John wrote about why the Bucks make the most sense for Whiteside (via Basketball Insiders):
“They don’t have the cap room to pay a star a max contract, and they have a tough decision with Jabari Parker’s restricted free agency looming this summer. Whiteside’s not a franchise-changing player, but he’s a step in the right direction.”
Portland Trail Blazers
In December 2016, Whiteside told Erik Gundersen that the Portland Trail Blazers were actually his second option if he did not re-sign with the Heat.
Diego Quezada thinks it could be a decent deal to bring on Evan Turner in a trade (via Hot Hot Hoops):
“Whiteside isn’t good enough to trade for C.J. McCollum — unless the Heat add Bam Adebayo or Josh Richardson — but Miami may be able to trade Whiteside for Evan Turner. Like Whiteside, Turner has two years left on his contract making a lot more money than someone only playing 25 minutes per game should make.”
This seems conditional on Jusuf Nurkic not returning to Portland next season.
“What if Dallas offered the expiring contract of Matthews and one of their second-round picks they own this year for Whiteside? For Miami, you would save $7 million in cap space this season and $27 million next summer … Dallas would then move into the future with Smith Jr., Barnes, the 2018 first round pick, Whiteside and whoever they add in free agency in addition to their returning veterans.”
This is arguably a better core than what they currently have and would allow them to select a wing in the 2018 NBA draft. But if they wanted a big man instead, it would not make any sense to trade for Whiteside and take on his large contract.
Miami and Washington could swap disgruntled employees by trading Whiteside for Marcin Gortat as well as the expiring contract of Ian Mahinmi (via Uproxx):
“The Wizards take a chance that Wall and Whiteside could be a great pick-and-roll duo and that he can gobble up offensive boards and be the rim protector this team desperately needs. The money is mitigated by the fact that Whiteside makes only $21 million more over the next two years than Mahinmi, and you also take away a year of Gortat at $13.5 million.”
Gortat was nearly traded during the 2018 NBA trade deadline. He may still be moved during the offseason.
Whiteside averaged 9.1 paint touches per game this year for the Heat, which ranked third overall in the Eastern Conference. He averaged 0.96 points per paint touch during the regular season, which ranked No. 7 overall (minimum: 400 paint touches) among high-volume players.
He scored 2.7 points per game on post-up possessions, which was way more than the 0.9 points per game scored by the Hawks last season. Whiteside can provide serious help near the basket like no other player who is currently on the Atlanta roster.
Alberto de Roa contributed research to this report.