Anthony Davis has played a key role in the Los Angeles Lakers‘ successful 2019-20 season, which saw them post a Western Conference-best 49-14 record before the season was paused due to the coronavirus outbreak. But even with most expectations pointing to the All-Star big man signing a new, lucrative contract with Los Angeles this summer, the possibility of him joining another team remains, especially with all the financial uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic. That possibility might force the Lakers to browse the free-agent market for alternatives such as Portland Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside, as suggested by a recent report.
In a list of five suggested potential replacements for Davis, Fansided‘s Lake Show Life wrote on Saturday that Whiteside stands out because of the big numbers he has posted this season as he “returned to prominence” after a tough 2018-19 campaign with the Miami Heat. With last season’s starting center, Jusuf Nurkic, spending the entire 2019-20 on the sidelines for the Trail Blazers, Whiteside averaged 16.4 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 3.1 blocked shots per game and shot 61.8 percent from the field in his first season in Portland.
As further noted, Whiteside shares a similar weakness with Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, who was also listed by Lake Show Life as a possible replacement for Davis. Both of them are cut from the traditional center mold, lacking the outside shooting abilities possessed by modern-style big men such as Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid. However, the outlet stressed that Whiteside is “even better” than Drummond and probably won’t cost as much to sign.
While Whiteside would likely be able to replace Davis’ rebounding and defensive stats, the Blazers star might find it considerably harder to score at a similar level. So far, Davis has posted stellar all-around numbers for the Purple and Gold, including 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.
Aside from Whiteside and Drummond, Lake Show Life recommended three other would-be free agents for the Lakers to target if Davis decides to leave town — New Orleans Pelicans veteran Derrick Favors, Detroit Pistons youngster Christian Wood, and potential 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year candidate Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Clippers.
As previously reported by Yahoo Sports, Davis rejected the Lakers’ four-year, $146 million contract extension offer in January, thus allowing him to enter the free-agent class of 2020 but also freeing him to sign a new contract worth up to $202 million over five years. As for the 27-year-old former All-NBA forward/center’s most likely destination, should he choose to leave Los Angeles, he had previously been linked to his hometown Chicago Bulls, who entered last month’s season hiatus with a 23-42 record — good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference.