With less than a month before the NBA trade deadline, rumors and speculations are swirling around the Miami Heat, who are reportedly trying to move some of their high-priced contracts. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Heat could trade Hassan Whiteside and Justise Winslow to the New Orleans Pelicans for DeMarcus Cousins.
Despite not having enough star power on their roster, the Heat continue to establish an impressive performance in the 2017-18 NBA season. They are currently on a six-game winning streak and reside in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. As of now, there is no doubt Miami is bound to return to the playoffs this season.
However, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Heat's current construction will prevent them from acquiring super-caliber talent and reaching a higher level. Lowe revealed that Miami is considering moving some of their high-priced contracts before the February 8 trade deadline.
One of the potential trade candidates is Hassan Whiteside. The 28-year-old center is currently the highest paid player on the Heat roster, and as Lowe notes, Whiteside, together with small forward Justise Winslow, will form "Miami's best realistic trade package." The Heat could trade Whiteside and Winslow for a star center on an expiring contract, such as DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans and DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Heat have a strong belief that their culture, tax benefits, and weather can convince either DeMarcus Cousins or DeAndre Jordan to re-sign with them in the upcoming free agency. Between the two All-Star centers, Cousins makes more sense for the Heat. Unlike Jordan and Whiteside, Cousins has the ability to space the floor, which is badly needed in the modern NBA. Coach Erik Spoelstra could play him alongside Bam Adebayo or Kelly Olynyk since he could slide at the four when the Heat need to go big.
However, as of now, the Pelicans have not entertained any trade discussion involving Cousins. Their decision will be affected by their performance in the ongoing 2017-18 NBA season. If they fall out of the playoff picture, there is a higher chance that Cousins will be available on the trading block before the trade deadline.
Even though Cousins may not become available, Barry Jackson of Miami Herald opens the possibility that the Heat could still trade Hassan Whiteside, especially if Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk continue to impress. However, two NBA scouts told Jackson that the Heat may not get a decent return for Whiteside.