Portland Trail Blazers rumors suggest the team could make another offer to the Miami Heat for All-Star center Hassan Whiteside. The Blazers have been in need of a low post defender who can also provide offense on the other end of the court. A new report on FOX Sports even makes the claim that Mason Plumlee, Maurice Harkless, and Meyers Leonard were already offered for Whiteside at the beginning of the 2016-17 NBA season. That isn’t something that has been confirmed by the team, but it certainly has social media buzzing.
Could the Blazers really make a huge splash before the NBA trade deadline in February? Would the Heat really give up Whiteside for that package of players? This is where Blazers fans might want to pump the breaks on that excitement. There is no possibility that Heat president Pat Riley is going to take a package of Plumlee, Harkless, and Leonard for a top 10 center. While many Blazers fans may not know how good Whiteside has been lately, he is not the reason that the Miami Heat are playing terrible basketball this season.
For these latest Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors to actually lead to a positive result, the front office would likely have to include a first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Blazers control their own selection as well as that of Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs pick will be toward the end of the first round, as the team is likely to finish with one of the three best records in the NBA. As for the Blazers’ own pick, that could end up being a lottery selection, especially if the team continues to struggle this season.
In 40 games during the 2016-17 NBA season, Hassan Whiteside is averaging 17.3 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. It has easily been his best season in the NBA, improving upon his numbers from just last season of 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game. Whiteside is doing it all in just 33.6 minutes a game, while also shooting 55.9 percent from the field. Those numbers make him an extremely valuable asset and Pat Riley knows it.
An additional asset to the Whiteside trade rumors is that he has two more years left on his deal for salaries of about $23.8 million and $25.5 million. Whiteside also has a player option for about $27.1 million in the 2019-20 NBA season, but he could decide to opt out if those per-game averages continue to improve. Team control is a big deal for franchises looking to acquire star talent before the NBA trade deadline, which will in turn make it more difficult for a team like the Blazers to acquire him.
In short, though it’s possible that the prior Portland Trail Blazers trade rumors about an offer to the Miami Heat may be correct, it certainly seems like an easy deal for Riley to reject. The Blazers are basically offering three role players (and no draft picks) for a top 10 center (some NBA analysts say he is a top five center) who also comes with extended team control. It’s not even a trade that would get approved on a version of NBA Live, let alone something that an NBA general manager would think was a good idea.
Portland has the assets to acquire a player like Hassan Whiteside, but it is going to take either that first-round pick or C.J. McCollum to get it done. At that point, the deal makes far less sense for Portland, as the team could simply “tank” for the rest of the current season and add an elite talent at the top of the 2017 NBA Draft. Even with early-season struggles, the Blazers are just half a game behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West. Is it worth mortgaging the future to get a first-round series with the Golden State Warriors?
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