The proliferation of NBA trade rumors is not decreasing as the 2016 NBA preseason schedule begins. There is a great deal of ongoing discussion regarding numerous trade scenarios from around the league. One of those involves the Miami Heat, and surprisingly, Chris Bosh is not mentioned in this particular trade proposal.
According to the website NBA Trade Rumors, there is talk of a deal going down between the Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers. The report states that Miami would give up center Hassan Whiteside in exchange for three players: center Timofey Mozgov, power forward Julius Randle, and shooting guard Nick Young.
Based on Whiteside’s breakthrough season in 2015-16, this would seem to be a huge upgrade at center for the Lakers. However, now that Whiteside has been awarded a max contract that will pay him $98 million over the next four years, Los Angeles would be gambling that Whiteside will continue his stellar play after receiving this monster contract. One of the concerns about Hassan Whiteside throughout his NBA career has been his lack of motivation, and now that he’s “gotten paid,” there is a chance he may revert to the underachiever he was when he came out of Marshall University in 2010.
Assuming for a moment that Whiteside will continue to produce at the level he did last season in Miami, one has to look at the Lakers’ three outgoing players and determine if Whiteside is worth that investment. Timofey Mozgov was brought in during the off-season to be Los Angeles’ new starting center, but he would no longer be needed if the team acquired Whiteside. Julius Randle was effectively a rookie last year after missing all but one game of his first NBA season. Randle averaged a double-double and has the look of a future All-Star, so dealing him in a package for Hassan Whiteside would be a risky maneuver for the Lakers.
Nick Young is buried on the Lakers’ depth chart and is basically a throw-in to make the incoming and outgoing salaries more comparable. Young could see limited minutes as a backup for Miami, but he adds little value to Los Angeles’ offer. The desirability of this NBA trade rumor comes down to Julius Randle versus Hassan Whiteside. The Lakers would have a center who can impact the game on both ends of the court, but they would be weaker at power forward. It doesn’t appear that Larry Nance, Jr. is ready for a starting role, so this deal wouldn’t be a home run for the Lakers.
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Julius Randle would help ease the loss of Chris Bosh, who just failed his team physical and is unlikely to ever play for the Heat going forward (per the New York Times). However, the team has former No. 2 overall draft pick Derrick Williams, and he may be ready to assume Bosh’s former role. Randle would appear to be a better option than Williams at power forward, but Williams is much more capable of assuming the starting power forward spot than his Lakers counterpart, Larry Nance, Jr.
Despite the previous analysis of each team’s power forward position, if this trade had to be consummated today, the Los Angeles Lakers would probably agree to it, but the Miami Heat would not. This would not be an easy decision for the Lakers, but everything considered, they would likely grab the opportunity to trade for Whiteside, even if it meant leaving a hole at power forward. The team is a cellar-dweller and needs star power in the worst way.
The Miami Heat would veto this trade offer because they don’t need Julius Randle as badly as the Lakers do, and it is doubtful that the Heat have anywhere near the confidence in Timofey Mozgov that Los Angeles apparently does. Randle is a nice piece, but Miami would choose to roll with Hassan Whiteside and Derrick Williams rather than a combination of Mozgov and Julius Randle.
One final note to share is that this rumored trade scenario cannot happen until close to mid-season (December 15), due to the fact that both Hassan Whiteside and Timofey Mozgov just signed new contracts this summer. This wrinkle adds some additional intrigue to this potential deal because based on how the first half of the season unfolds, either or both of these teams could feel differently about this proposal two months from now. Will Whiteside show signs of slacking off? Will Mozgov prove he is worth the $64 million that the Lakers gave him as a free agent? Time will tell.
Current NBA trade rumors are indicating that the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers may be pondering a four-player swap. Even if this deal was legal per NBA rules, it wouldn’t be agreed upon right now. However, when Whiteside and Mozgov become trade-eligible later in the season, this rumored proposal could take on a whole new look.
[Featured Image by Tony Dejak/AP Images]