The Los Angeles Lakers are desperate for an elite rim protector. With the Roy Hibbert experiment failing miserably, the Lakers are hoping to land Hassan Whiteside via trade or free agency, according to latest NBA trade Rumors.
An ESPN Insider article revealed on Tuesday that the Heat center was on top of the Lakers’ desired trade targets, even more than Kings all-star DeMarcus Cousins.
With the Hibbert (on an expiring contract) and Lakers expected to part ways over the summer, the Lakers are set to offer max deals to the likes of Al Horford, Whiteside and Joakim Noah. However, they could acquire Whiteside ahead of the February 18 deadline if Heat president Pat Riley is persuaded with the right deal.
Heat forced to move Whiteside?
The Heat are in a predicament since they don’t own the Bird Rights to Whiteside. Therefore, a team like the Lakers, with a lot more cap room than Heat, will have the opportunity to pry Whiteside away from South Beach.
For the Heat to retain Whiteside, the leading shot blocker in the league, they would have to either convince Dwayne Wade to take a pay cut or choose between Whiteside and their longtime franchise player. Clearly, that won’t be an easy decision for Riley’s camp.
If Heat trade Whiteside to Lakers, they can still get a valuable asset or two in return. But if they don’t trade the big man, they risk losing him next year for nothing. It’s definitely a predicament.
Since Whiteside is still earning less than a million a year, it won’t be very difficult for the Lakers to pull off a trade. However, the Heat would expect nothing less than a package of prized lottery picks D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle. The Lakers have previously stated that Russell and Randle are “untradeable.” However, a deal for Whiteside could change that stance.
Rim protectors like Whiteside are hard to find. The Lakers could change their fortunes overnight by landing Whiteside. But is he worth giving up Russell and Randle?
Stay tuned for the latest NBA Trade Rumors.