The Los Angeles Lakers will be heading to training camp with three centers on their roster – JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner. Unfortunately, none of those big men looked ready for the starting role. McGee spent the most of his NBA career coming off the bench, while Zubac and Wagner need to show a massive improvement in their game to earn the starting spot.
The 2018 NBA free agency concluded with the Lakers passing on the opportunity to acquire DeMarcus Cousins and deciding not to re-sign Brook Lopez. Though most free agent big men have already signed a new contract, the Lakers could still look on the trade market for players who can address their weakness at the center position. According to Fansided’s Sir Charles In Charge, one of the potential trade targets for the Lakers is Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat.
It’s worth noting that when Hassan Whiteside became an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2016, the Lakers had expressed strong interest in giving him a max contract. If the Heat are willing to trade the disgruntled superstar for a reasonable price, the Lakers could attempt to add him to their team once again. As Fansided’s Sir Charles In Charge noted, being traded to the Lakers is the “best-case scenario” for Whiteside.
“The best-case scenario would be the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though trading for Whiteside would involve LA getting into luxury tax territory, his deal will anyway come off the books by the season’s end; the Lakers give him a chance to play on a contender, which could eventually lead to the star center taking a discount and allowing the Lakers to chase a max-contract free agent to play alongside LeBron James and himself and form a super-team to challenge the Golden State Warriors in the stacked Western Conference.”
— The Ringer (@ringer) September 2, 2018
With the emergence of Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo, it will be beneficial for both Hassan Whiteside and the Heat to part ways this offseason. Whiteside is better off with a team that can give him the opportunity to prove himself once again in the league. When given enough playing time, Whiteside has the capability to become one of the most dominant big men in the NBA.
Whiteside could tremendously help the Lakers in terms of rebounding and protecting the rim. Joining the Lakers will enable Whiteside to regain his All-Star form, especially when he starts playing alongside LeBron James. James has a reputation for making his teammates better, and he could also influence the disgruntled superstar to become a more mature NBA player.
If everything goes well between Whiteside and the Lakers, they may consider continuing their partnership for the next couple of years. Whiteside could exercise his 2019 player option to re-sign with the Lakers on a very friendly deal. This will enable the Lakers to acquire another big name in the free agency market that could help them challenge the Warriors for Western Conference supremacy.