Rumors regarding Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler’s apparent trade demands have dominated the NBA landscape since the start of the week, but he might not be the only NBA star looking for a change of scenery. Earlier in the offseason, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was widely believed to be unhappy with his reduced role with the team, and while he has reportedly sorted out these issues with Heat management, there are still some who believe he might be looking to play for another team sooner rather than later. Could one of those teams be the Los Angeles Clippers?
On Tuesday, Fadeaway World published a list of potential trade destinations for the 29-year-old Whiteside, with the publication mentioning the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Los Angeles Clippers as the top three teams that could benefit from the big man’s services. While Fadeaway World did not specify any trade packages for the first option and mostly revisited old trade rumors involving Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith, and George Hill for the second, the third option had the site recommending small forward Tobias Harris as someone the Clippers can trade if they want to acquire Whiteside.
According to Fadeaway World, Harris would be one of the better players the Clippers can include if trading for Hassan Whiteside, as he boasts of a “unique frame” and an ability to put the ball in the basket. The team’s “mid-tier” small forwards and guards on “reasonable contracts” were also mentioned as potential trade bait, though no other specific names were mentioned.
“Whatever the package may be, Los Angeles is certainly in need of some help on the low block. Replacing [DeAndre] Jordan with [Marcin] Gortat will leave a lot to be desired defensively and forces the team into a slower style of play. By replacing him with Whiteside, Los Angeles can clear some of their roster out and replace Jordan with a comparable two-way athlete.”
NBA Rumors: Top 3 Destinations For Hassan Whiteside
— NBA All Access (@nballaccess) September 19, 2018
As seen in the above quote, Fadeaway World mostly focused on how Hassan Whiteside represents an upgrade over Gortat, who was acquired from the Washington Wizards for guard Austin Rivers earlier in the offseason, on both ends of the floor. The publication, however, made no mention of the trade rumors that could make Tobias Harris superfluous, should both of the players involved end up on the Clippers next summer.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers will have two slots open for a maximum contract in July, 2019, which could allow them to sign Kawhi Leonard from the Raptors and Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves wingman, who is also expected to enter free agency next summer. Citing league sources, “Woj” also noted that Butler appears to be most interested in being traded to the Clippers, although the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are also reportedly among the 29-year-old All-Star’s preferred trade destinations. Like Harris, both Leonard and Butler are natural small forwards, though the latter is also frequently utilized as a shooting guard.
With injuries reducing his playing time, Hassan Whiteside’s numbers similarly took a hit in 2017-18, as he averaged 14 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, down from 17 points, 14.1 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in the season prior. After weeks of rumors suggesting that he wanted a trade due to his reduced role, Whiteside told the Sun-Sentinel toward the end of July that he had a “great talk” with Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and president Pat Riley, where both sides resolved “some” of their differences in a meeting that was described as “productive” for everyone involved.