Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has gone through ups and downs in the 2017-18 NBA season. Aside from suffering multiple injuries, the 28-year-old big man found himself having a limited role in Coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation. Since publicly expressing his frustration with the team, rumors started to swirl that Whiteside and the Heat are headed into an inevitable divorce this summer.
As the offseason approaches, numerous speculations have been surfacing regarding his potential landing spots. According to Simon Smith of Fansided’s Hoops Habit, one of the possible trade destinations of Hassan Whiteside is the Charlotte Hornets. After suffering another disappointing season, the Hornets are expected to make a huge overhaul on their roster this summer.
They are currently under new management, hiring Mitch Kupchak as the president of basketball operations, and James Borrego as their new head coach. With Kupchak assuming front office role, the Hornets could explore the possibility of moving Dwight Howard.
“One player who could be on the move is former All-Star center Dwight Howard. Last season, Howard had his most productive year on a per 36-minute basis since his final season with the Orlando Magic in 2011-12. In 81 games, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game. Notably, the 32-year-old is entering the final year of his three-year, $70.5 million deal.”
In Hoops Habit’s suggested trade scenario, the Heat would send Hassan Whiteside and a future second-round pick to Charlotte for Dwight Howard. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. The trade won’t give the Heat much improvement, since Howard is an aging center who offers the same skill set as Whiteside.
However, with Howard’s contract set to expire after next season, the Heat will have salary cap space to chase their target free agents in the summer of 2019. The 2019 free agency will feature superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Klay Thompson. Acquiring at least one of those players could increase the Heat’s chance of dominating the Eastern Conference once again.
In order to convince the Hornets to absorb the remaining two-years and $54 million on Whiteside’s contract, the Heat will need to attach a future second-round pick to sweeten the deal. Trading for Whiteside is not bad at all for the Hornets. When given enough playing time, Whiteside has proven to be a dominant presence on both ends of the floor. He will undeniably be a good fit for Borrego’s system since his coaching style has its foundation on the defensive end with a heavy emphasis on ball movement.