The Miami Heat may look to move Hassan Whiteside, but finding trade partners will be difficult.
The Miami Heat have exited the playoffs at the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers, so a shift into offseason mode is coming. On that note, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has reported the Heat will explore trading center Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside had a breakout season in 2016-17, averaging 17 points, a league-high 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game over 77 games. But he missed 28 games with injuries this year, with a bit of a production drop-off (14 points and 11.4 rebounds per game) in less playing time (25.3 minutes per game; 32.6 minutes per game in 2016-17).
The potential for a on-court playoff showdown between Whiteside and Joel Embiid faded quickly. Whiteside averaged just 15.4 minutes per game during the series, with a plus/minus of -26. His -75 plus/minus during the regular season was the second-worst on the team.
Whiteside and Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra are clearly not on the same page. Whiteside lamented his lack of involvement in Miami’s offense after Game 3 against Philadelphia, saying “coach wants me to just be in the corner and set picks.”
After a post game rant about his playing time on March 31, in a proverbial last straw on the matter, Whiteside was fined by the Heat for “comments detrimental to the team.” During that rant, he sort of campaigned for a trade.
“A lot of teams don’t have a good center, “They are going to use their strengths. It’s bulls—. It’s really bulls—, man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center.”
The major barrier to a trade is Whiteside’s contract. He has two years and $52.5 million left on the four-year, $98 million deal he signed with Miami in July 2016. A first-round pick or two would have to be added to convince a team to take on that money, along with another piece like Kelly Olynyk or Bam Adebayo. But Olynyk is just one year into his own significant contract, while Adebayo would be in line for more minutes in Whiteside’s stead and shedding his potential one year in would depend on the return in a trade.
Whiteside and the Heat seem to be stuck with each other each other through the offseason, and at least into next season. Durability, and being older than you might think at 28 years old, will be concerns for any team that even thinks about engaging the Heat on Whiteside.