In 2016, the Miami Heat signed center Hassan Whiteside to a massive four-year, $98 million deal with hopes he’d become the NBA’s next dominant center. However, toward the end of the 2017-18 season and beginning of the postseason, things have changed.
After Whiteside averaged 14.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 2017-18, there has been a disconnect in faith since his playing time dipped midway through the season. Whiteside looked sluggish and lazy on the court and has had a rough start to the Heat’s first couple of playoff games against Philadelphia. Maybe it was Whiteside having a hard time against foe and 76ers star center Joel Embiid, but he made it known to the media that he wasn’t being used accordingly.
If you're wondering why Whiteside isn't getting touches:
He has ZERO energy on this play. Barely even walking to set his screens. He completely misses one on Redick to spring Tyler loose.
A better screen results in Embiid needing to help and an open lane for a Whiteside lob. pic.twitter.com/mVXVDR61vd
— Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg) April 20, 2018
“It’s just different, man. I feel like our offense is a lot different. I’m not as involved in as many dribble handoffs as I was and post-ups as I was in the regular season,” Whiteside said after scoring five points in 13 minutes in Miami’s Game 3 loss to Philadelphia. “That’s what coach [Erik Spoelstra] wants. Coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks. That’s what he wants. I’ve just got to trust it.”
Joel Embiid when Hassan Whiteside has defended him in this series: 60 possessions, 10 points, 1/10 FGs, 2 assists, 6 turnovers. pic.twitter.com/WNClNXVLmC
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) April 23, 2018
Rumors swirled during the 2017-18 season that Miami was debating on moving Whiteside prior to the trade deadline, but nothing happened. With Whiteside’s poor play and bemused look on the court, Heat fans want him gone. Whiteside has two full seasons remaining on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free-agent in 2020 at age 30.
Miami may be looking to dump Whiteside’s contract in a trade and the Los Angeles Lakers may have interested.
Los Angeles has a boatload of young players in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, among others. With Brook Lopez likely out the door next season, they’d be without a proven center. Hassan Whiteside can be that guy.
Whiteside is an elite defensive anchor, something the Lakers haven’t had in years. His play on both ends could fit well into their high-paced offense and could bring “Lob City” back to Los Angeles. Trading for Whiteside—while taking on his large contract—and making another free-agency move could bring Los Angeles that much closer to being Western Conference contenders. It may be tough, though. Los Angeles may have to give up assets to acquire him.
Los Angeles’ potential starting lineup if they were to trade for Whiteside:
PG: Lonzo Ball/Isaiah Thomas (if re-signs)
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (if re-signs)
SF: Brandon Ingram/Kyle Kuzma
PF: Julius Randle
C: Hassan Whiteside
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