Rumors are spreading around that Hassan Whiteside will sign with a new team before the February 18 trade deadline. The Miami Heat star was linked to several teams, but no deals have been worked out so far. The promising center is in the final year of his contract, and speculations are growing that he may sign for Los Angeles Lakers in the coming offseason.
The Lakers retained their young core and were unwilling to make any calls ahead of the deadline. The Lakers’ general manager Mitch Kupchak is now eyeing to acquire a starting center in the offseason to boost his roster for the next season. Hassan Whiteside becomes an automatic choice for the Lakers, as reported by Sports Illustrated.
The Los Angeles Lakers are out of the reckoning for the playoffs after a disastrous season. On top of this, Kobe Bryant will also be retiring at the end of this season.
Why Would the Lakers Target Whiteside?
The Lakers acquired Roy Hibbert, from the Indiana Pacers as a temporary solution. But Kupchak is focusing on a long-term strategy for the future. It’s clear that Hibbert requires a new environment to prove his worth. Whiteside could be a much better replacement in the Lakers’ roster as a center. The more athletic Whiteside is capable of complimenting D’Angelo Russell and is much more efficient than Hibbert when it comes to shot-blocking.
Whiteside could be a cover for Julius Randle too, who is a poor defender. Russell and Jordan Clarkson will be the starting guards for the Lakers next season. Both are very young and the combination can become a dominant force in the offensive end. If Whiteside dons the Lakers’ colors, he can benefit from the open interior ends.
Whiteside is in good form too. Since sitting out during Miami’s first game after the All-star break, Whiteside posted averages of 20 points, 15.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in 32.3 minutes, coming off the bench, according to Miami Herald.