The latest batch of NBA trade rumors are speculating that the Miami Heat may be considering a rebuild (as the team currently sits at 10-22), and if they do, their most marketable asset is star center Hassan Whiteside. According to Fox Sports, the Heat will likely be a player in the trade market before the NBA trade deadline, but are they willing to deal Whiteside as part of a roster overhaul?
The Los Angeles Lakers have also made a lot of recent noise in the rumor mill, as the team is floundering with a 12-23 record. The Lakers have some good young talent, but they lack a marquee star -- and in a huge media market like Los Angeles, that is a problem both on and off the court. One player whose potential trade value has risen sharply this season is shooting guard Lou Williams. Williams has been spectacular as the Lakers' sixth man this season (per the Orange County Register), averaging 18.8 points in only 25 minutes per game.
During the offseason, Los Angeles made a controversial move by giving journeyman center Timofey Mozgov a four-year, $64 million contract. SB Nation reports that Mozgov is playing well so far in 2016-17, but many believe that he is not the Lakers' long-term solution at center. If Los Angeles is going to make a big splash by bringing in a star player before the trade deadline, the center position is viewed as the most likely spot for the Lakers to target.
Current NBA trade rumors are circulating that the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat may have a deal in the works. The hypothetical trade proposal that is being discussed online would see the Lakers acquiring Hassan Whiteside from Miami. In exchange, the Heat would receive a package that includes Lou Williams, Timofey Mozgov, and Los Angeles' first-round draft pick in 2018.
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From the Los Angeles Lakers' viewpoint, this is a deal they would make. Mozgov would be expendable with the addition of Whiteside, and even though Williams is playing excellent basketball, his role would be capably covered by Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson if Williams was shipped out. The team's first-round pick in 2018 is likely to be in the lottery, but to obtain an up-and-coming star like Hassan Whiteside, the Lakers would roll the dice on this deal.
The Miami Heat need to decide if they are ready to rebuild, and if so, would unloading Hassan Whiteside be a move that would benefit them in the future? If this specific trade was agreed to, both Timofey Mozgov and Lou Williams would become starters for the Heat. In the short term, the team would take a small step back, but the first-round draft choice would be a solid future asset for Miami.
The problem for Miami is that both Mozgov and Williams are 30 years old, and if the goal is to build for the future, Heat President Pat Riley would probably want younger talent if he decides to jettison Hassan Whiteside. In terms of value, this theoretical offer is reasonable, but it appears probable that Miami could get a better offer if they shopped Whiteside around the NBA.
In terms of the three players mentioned in this rumored trade proposal, this would be a legal transaction as verified by the ESPN NBA Trade Machine. However, the Lakers' first-round pick in 2018 is also said to be part of this potential deal -- and that presents a problem.
Los Angeles previously dealt their 2017 first-round choice to Philadelphia with the stipulation that if the pick is in the top three, the 76ers would receive the Lakers' 2018 first-round selection. Due to this, Los Angeles can't trade their 2018 first-round pick, as it is already in limbo as part of this previous transaction with the Sixers.
Current NBA trade rumors are buzzing about a possible swap that involves the Lakers and the Heat. Los Angeles would be likely to jump on the opportunity to acquire a budding star in Hassan Whiteside, but Miami would be much more hesitant. In order to feel good about dealing Whiteside, the Heat would want younger players and more overall value than the Lakers are alleged to be offering. This is an interesting scenario, but the rumored inclusion of Los Angeles' 2018 first-round pick would not be allowed by the NBA, so this trade rumor cannot be legitimate as it is structured.
[Featured Image by Alan Diaz/AP Images]