The Milwaukee Bucks have secured the eighth and final playoffs seed after the Detroit Pistons dropped a 115-108 game to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, earning them a second straight trip to the postseason. While it is a promising development for head coach Joe Prunty’s squad, many analysts believe that the team still needs to improve their roster this coming offseason.
One of the latest trade rumors surrounding the Bucks is a potential summer deal with the Miami Heat for 7-footer Hassan Whiteside. Basketball Insiders‘ Matt John suggested a deal that would send Jabari Parker and John Henson to the Heat for Whiteside.
Whiteside is considered as one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference right now. The 28-year-old big man struggled with injuries this season, but managed to play 51 games, averaging 14.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks, and 1.0 assists in only 25.5 minutes per game for head coach Erik Spoelstra.
According to reports, Whiteside has become “unhappy” with the lack of playing time he receives from the Heat.
ESPN reported that the former Marshall standout “went on an expletive-laden tirade” following the Heat’s 110-109 overtime defeat to the Brooklyn Nets last Saturday. He reportedly questioned his team’s own coaching staff on why they were matching up with their opponents even when they “got one of the best centers in the league,” presumably referring to himself.
Whiteside was benched in the final 21 minutes of the game as Spoelstra seemed to have matched Brooklyn’s small lineup with Miami’s own. What makes the story interesting is that the player mentioned something about how the other teams currently need a reliable center, implying that he could play for them if he is not needed by the Heat.
“A lot of teams don’t have a good center,” said Whiteside. “They are going to use their strengths. It’s bulls***. It’s really bulls***, man. There are a lot of teams that can use a center.”
The Basketball Insiders article said that Milwaukee “really needs an upgrade at center,” with Henson acting as the regular starter. Henson is deemed to be too lean for the position while the team’s other options, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller, are said to be more suited as role players coming off the bench, the report noted.
The article continued that while Whiteside is not a “franchise-changing” player, swapping him for Henson would be a “step in the right direction” for the Bucks.
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Parker is one of Milwaukee’s best players despite being injury-prone. The second overall pick of the 2014 draft was out for almost a year after suffering a second ACL tear on the same knee in February of last year.
Parker just returned to the court on February 2 this year and has only played 27 games so far. He averages 11.9 points, 4.3 boards, and 1.9 assists in 23.0 minutes a night for the Bucks as he enters restricted free agency in July.