Hassan Whiteside (Photo : NBAE via Getty Images)
The NBA trade rumors are picking up as some teams like the Miami Heat have finally accepted their fate as a rebuilding team.
As the crossroads become clearer and the teams get separation, the Heat may have become the biggest sellers in the trade market. That was quite predictable and there are already numerous scenarios involving their starting point guard Goran Dragic.
However, a bombshell dropped by ESPN top hoops scribe Zach Lowe in his podcast has Hassan Whiteside on the block as well. (h/t 24/7 Sports.)
"Up and down the roster, literally every player," said Lowe towards the end of his latest podcast. "Literally no one is untouchable, not even Hassan Whiteside, by a long shot."
Lowe did not elaborate much on his point but there were already rumblings of Whiteside being available. But since this report came from Lowe, it does offer more credence.
Whiteside being available will shake up the trade rumor landscape. He is a young player in his prime and specializes in a skill that is now a premium in today's NBA: rim protection. Why would Pat Riley give up his surprise treasure-a player that other teams like the Kings and Lakers gave up on?
Matt Moore of CBS noted that when Riley wants a full rebuild, he really goes all the way. Also, the last time the Heat hit the reset button, they had a franchise player to build around on-something that Riley doesn't see in his current roster.
"So when the Heat decide to tear it down and rebuild and go all the way again, unlike that 2008 team, which had Dwyane Wade so they could reload and get back on track in 2009, this team does not have Wade."
Whiteside is a good player now, but it's unlikely that he could be the best player in a playoff team. The Heat lost both Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the same season and there's no guarantee that they can sign a franchise free agent like Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant or Steph Curry.
They may have to do it the hard way-meaning the draft. The Heat has their own draft pick in 2017 and if they have a full tank job, they can land a top 5 pick. However, one star rookie may not be enough and the only way they can land another top pick is to trade Whiteside. Moore already believes that the Boston Celitcs will not resist this chance.
"Boston is particularly interesting given that he solves its rim protection issues and with such a great culture, you'd feel good about him fitting in. He's also 27, putting him roughly in line with the other key players on that team," Moore stated.
If Whiteside is on the table and Riley wants to rebuild, he needs the Brooklyn Nets pick. He's not trading his prized big man for change. If Danny Ainge realizes that this is their best chance to land a big man who would actually complement Al Horford, then he should pull the trigger.