Hassan Whiteside publicly expressed frustration about his playing minutes and openly said that he is unsure of his future role with the Miami Heat. His rant generated speculation that the Heat will eventually decide to trade Whiteside after this season.
Whiteside’s numbers and playing time are down from last season, but the 28-year-old is still considered as one of the best centers in the league. And if the Heat decides to move on from him this summer, Andrew Neururer of Hoops Habit said that the Boston Celtics should pursue a trade with the Heat.
Whiteside was considered the main building block of the Heat after he signed a four-year deal worth around $98 million in 2016, according to Spotrac. However, his minutes are down from 32.6 last year to 25.6 per game this season. The emergence of rookie center Bam Adebayo is affecting Whiteside’s playing time and his value in Miami.
If the Heat eventually decides to part with the disgruntled center, Neururer said that the Celtics would be among the teams who can eventually pull off a trade with the Heat. He said that the Celtics should offer Al Horford and their 2020 first-round pick to the Heat for Whiteside.
Horford is a vital piece for the Celtics, as he can score inside the paint and shoot three-pointers as well. However, Whiteside could put them in a better position to compete because he is more athletic and can protect the rim better than Horford. The Heat center is averaging 14.1 points and 11.6 rebounds on top of 1.7 blocks per game this season.
It is also worth noting that Whiteside is three years younger than the 31-year-old Horford. The 2020 first-round pick should serve as a sweetener for the deal, and it is expected to be a late pick in the opening round because the Celtics would be one of the top teams by then, barring any major setbacks.
The trade also makes sense for the Heat because they would get an All-Star center in return for a discontented starter. Horford, who is averaging 12.8 points and 7.4 rebounds this season, could also seamlessly fit into Erik Spoeltra’s system.
Miami would also get rid of a player who could eventually create tension in the locker room because of his frustrations. The 2020 pick might turn out to be a late first-round pick, but there are teams who managed to find a gem even in the second round of the draft.