NBA trade rumors are currently being dominated by the continuing saga of Carmelo Anthony, but there are plenty of other star players who are potentially on the move. Miami Heat star center Hassan Whiteside has been linked to the Boston Celtics for quite some time, and those rumors have bubbled up again this week.
Ecumenical News reported as far back as November 2016 that the Celtics have been looking at Whiteside as a possible frontcourt sidekick for forward/center Al Horford. The tentative scenario that was being discussed at the time included power forward Amir Johnson, power forward Jonas Jerebko and the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick in 2017 that Boston has the right to swap for their own first-round draft choice in 2017.
There are now multiple sources indicating that these trade talks may be back on as we near the February trade deadline. iSportsTimes discusses that Hassan Whiteside is available if the Heat receive a blockbuster offer, and the Celtics have the ability to make them such an offer. Fansided shares that Whiteside would solve Boston’s rebounding and rim protection issues, and sending a package of players and draft choices to Miami would make sense for both teams.
According to Yibada, the Celtics were once focusing on a potential deal for Sacramento Kings superstar center DeMarcus Cousins, but when that didn’t pan out, Boston general manager Danny Ainge turned his attention to Hassan Whiteside. This article states that including at least one of the two first-round picks that the Celtics own via Brooklyn would be the key to getting a deal done with the Heat.
The latest NBA trade rumors are indicating that talks between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat regarding Hassan Whiteside have picked up once again. The specific scenario that is being reported and debated online has Hassan Whiteside joining the Celtics. In exchange for their young center, the Heat would receive Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, center Kelly Olynyk, the Nets’ first-round pick in 2017 and Boston’s first-round draft choice in 2018. The ESPN NBA Trade Machine verifies that this would be a legal transaction if both teams agreed to this rumored proposal.
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If this trade goes down, the Boston Celtics would be an instantly better team. Whiteside would man the center position, and Al Horford would move to power forward, which is arguably his best position. Boston would lose some of their depth by making this deal, but Whiteside’s presence would make that a non-issue. Sending two first-round picks to Miami would add significant expense to this hypothetical swap, but given the Celtics’ goal of competing for a championship right away, they may be very willing to pay this price to obtain a player of Whiteside’s stature.
This proposal is a very interesting one for the Miami Heat, because nearly all the benefit they would receive would come in the form of salary cap relief and future draft choices. Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko, and Kelly Olynyk are all playing on expiring contracts, and that would certainly appear to be a key reason these particular players are involved in these discussions. The Heat would be able to wipe over $20 million off the books after the 2016-17 season if they agreed to this offer, which would add to the $9 million in salary cap space they are presently projected to have next year (per Spotrac).
Boston’s first-round draft pick in 2018 will probably be low in the round, but NBADraft.net confirms that the 2017 draft choice that Miami would acquire as part of this transaction is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in a talent-filled draft. Based on the additional cap space and draft picks the Heat would gain from this deal, the potential is there for this swap to yield at least two star performers that the team can rebuild with.
This example from the current batch of NBA trade rumors would be compelling for both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat to consider. The Celtics would be sacrificing some of their future for a chance to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and the Heat would have almost $30 million to spend in free agency this summer, along with the opportunity to bring in some top young talent via the NBA Draft. Boston would likely say yes to this theoretical offer, and while Miami might be a bit more hesitant, there is enough value for them in this proposal to make this rumored blockbuster trade very plausible.
[Featured Image by Elise Amendola/AP Images]