The Los Angeles Lakers could benefit from a yet another disgruntled player this offseason. For a team looking to make a huge splash in the free agent market, the Lakers could wind up with Hassan Whiteside, according to Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report.
According to reports, Whiteside is not happy with the way he’s being used in Miami. Whiteside had this to say after the Heat played the Brooklyn Nets recently.
“Man, it’s annoying. Why we matching up? We got one of the best centers in the league. Why we matching up? A lot of teams don’t have a good center. They’re going to use their strength.”
What the Lakers could offer, according to Fromal, is the hefty contract of the non-playing Luol Deng, a promising player in Josh Hart, and a second-round pick in 2018. Sadly to say, but this may be one of the best offers the Heat will get for a player they once deemed the future of their franchise.
Whiteside is averaging 14 points and 11 rebounds this year, but doing so in only 25.5 minutes of action, per game. The Heat, besides looking at his price tag and on-court issues, may also view his decline in defense as a reason to ship him out of town. Another factor the Heat may use as a reason to let Whiteside go is that, according to Spotrac, Whiteside is set to make $25.4 million next season and has a player option in 2019 for $27 million. What Fromal proposes is that the Heat could go cheaper with Deng’s contract that will pay him $36 million over the next two season.
For the Lakers, adding Whiteside could be a top move, especially in terms of recruiting other top free agents like LeBron James or Paul George. A lineup that features Lonzo Ball, Whiteside, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and possibly Julius Randle would be enticing to James and George.
The one glaring issue with Whiteside has been his inability to stay on the court. During his career, he’s never played more than 77 games in a season. This must be something the Lakers will have to think hard about if they are going to pay him over $50 million in the next two years. But when healthy, Whiteside can produce on the boards and provide great rim protection, as he’s averaged 2.5 blocks per game for his career.
These are attributes the Lakers desperately need. Whiteside is only 28-years-old and could fit right into the youth movement the Lakers are creating.