NBA trade rumors are stating that the Los Angeles Lakers are targeting Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside in a trade because they don’t want another team swooping him up before he becomes a free agent after the season ends, according to ESPN Insider.
With a 9-37 record, the Los Angeles Lakers are sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference and looking towards plans for the following season, which means that the NBA trade deadline in February might be a good time for general manager Mitch Kupchak to start reloading his roster.
Though there have been plenty of hiccups between the younger players and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Byron Scott throughout the current season, the team knows that they have some potentially good building blocks in D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle, which means that they could field a very competitive lineup by finding another forward and center.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a promising young forward on their roster in Larry Nance, Jr., the 23-year-old son of former Cleveland Cavaliers star Larry Nance, Sr., and while he and Julius Randle could learn to mesh together on the offensive end of the court, the two of them would both greatly need to improve their defensive abilities in order for Byron Scott to even consider giving that lineup a try.
For Mitch Kupchak, the main priority for the upcoming off season could be the center position, a spot where the Los Angeles Lakers have been spoiled over the past decade due to having the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Andrew Bynum, and Dwight Howard around.
Thanks to some tremendous performances over the past two years, Hassan Whiteside has moved near the top of the list when it comes to centers in the NBA, and the 7’0″, 260 pound player is set to become one of the most sought after free agents this summer.
Since the Los Angeles Lakers know that they will not be the only suitor for Hassan Whiteside, Mitch Kupchak and team owner Jim Buss might be inclined to be progressive by giving Miami Heat General Manager Pat Riley a phone call to see what it would take to pry their starting center away.
An interesting trade that could take place would see the Los Angeles Lakers sending Nick Young, a guard that never met a shot that he didn’t like, and draft picks to the Miami Heat in exchange for Hassan Whiteside, who would immediately replace Roy Hibbert in the starting lineup, and Chris Anderson, a pseudo cheerleader who is thrown in to make the salaries match.
Nick Young isn’t the type of player that can be considered an asset on a young and impressionable team like the Los Angeles Lakers, but when you pair him up with veteran players like Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh, who have both won multiple championships, then the Miami Heat might be able to corral Young and convince him to become a valuable scoring contributor off the bench.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, the trade would enable Mitch Kupchak to get first crack at signing Hassan Whiteside to what should be a near maximum contract, while also adding a fourth building block to go with D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, and Julius Randle, a core that might be appealing to other young free agent superstars.
Hassan Whiteside might not be as sexy of an off-season pickup as most Los Angeles Lakers have grown accustomed to seeing, but when you can grab a legitimate NBA center who can put up monster scoring and rebounding numbers, it goes a long way towards speeding up your rebuilding process.
[Featured Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]