Hassan Whiteside is a talented player at a position that has become devalued with the emergence of the run and gun offense. Heat GM Pat Riley gave Whiteside a lot of money giving him a 4-year/ $98 million in 2016 placing him as a franchise player. Clashes with Coach Eric Spoelstra, “injuries”, and further emergence of Bam Adebayo have put Whiteside on the outside of the future plans for the Heat. Who would take and him?
Unlikely but interesting: Cleveland Cavaliers.
I know the Cavaliers have a player named Tristan Thompson that is very similar. Thompson though doesn’t bring the star power or the offense that Whiteside can bring. 2018-19 is a lost season for the Cavaliers but a trade for Whiteside would give the a core that would be very formidable in the East. Kevin Love, Colin Sexton, Cedi Osman and Whiteside would give the Cavaliers a starting lineup that could be bottom tier of playoff eligibility. Not to mention the Cavaliers will be looking at potential top five pick next summer.
Moving George Hill and releasing JR Smith can be a bit of a problem for the potential of moving money. But if the Cavaliers put up Thompson and another piece they can realistically move money that would make it acceptable for the Heat. Would Spoelstra and Riley be willing to move one locker room problem for another potential problem? Unlikely but why not.
Makes sense: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers jumped out to a nice start during the 2018 season. The illusion of their ability is starting to show after a couple lopsided losses to the Raptors w/o Kawhi and the rebuilding San Antonio Spurs. Adding a player like Whiteside can make them a real threat in the West. Pairing him with the rising star of Tobias Harris and multiple ancilary players can make them a tough matchup at multiple positions.
The Clippers appear set on not giving Montrez Harrell full starter minutes so its safe to say they don’t believe he is the answer at the center position. Whiteside can not only help them of offense but can handle the paint allowing the guards to move the ball out after a defensive stop. The Clippers have a ragtag group of players, adding a potential star like Whiteside could be just the boost they need for the remainder of the season.
Picking up Whitesides remaining contract could make it tough to add two players in the offseason, but if their target is going to be Kawhi Leonard they could add to his interest by having one of the best two way big men in the league.
Should do it: Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are at a crossroads. They are good enough to make the playoffs but are not good enough to win anything. They have a built in star with Kemba Walker as well as a strong set of role players. They are missing a piece to pair with their star. Enter Hassan Whiteside. Charlotte may be turned off at the idea of adding another troubled center after the Dwight Howard experiment did not pay off, but with the veteran presence of Tony Parker on the bench and the leadership of MJ this move could be the ticket to the next level for a Charlotte franchise that has seen limited success.
Cody Zeller and Bismarck Biyombo have filled in the role of center during the 2018 season, clearly Whiteside would make for a upgrade on multiple levels. His presence on the offensive end would open up opportunities for Kemba Walker and allow Zeller to move to the bench, which can strengthen the second unit. Unlike the previous teams listed it would be tough for the Hornets to make an offer that would be intriguing for the Heat. Charlotte does not have the expiring contracts potentially needed to make the move. They do however have their first round picks for the next two seasons. Moving one of those picks and two expiring contracts could be all it takes to get the Heat to move on from a player they do not see a future with. Whiteside has his negatives but the potential for stardom is their. Charlotte will have to make the first move.