Hassan Whiteside

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Vucevic, Ilyasova

The Heat have been aggressive on the trade market, but don’t expect them to deal Hassan Whiteside without a significant haul coming back in return, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. The franchise knows all too well how much of a role the 28-year-old has played in the team’s emergence as a defensive force.

Head coach Erik Spoelstra has reined in his inconsistent big man’s minutes this year, a luxury he can afford with other options like Kelly Olynyk and Bam Adebayo on the roster.

Despite the decreased workload, Whiteside is as efficient as ever, posting 14.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in just 25.8 minutes of action. Those are per-36 rates of 20.0 and 16.4, respectively, up from 18.8 and 15.6 per-36 in 2016/17.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Heat Notes: Ellington, Trade Deadline, Jones, Whiteside

For the second straight season, the Heat will face a difficult decision regarding Wayne Ellington, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Ellington, who is averaging a career-best 11.5 points per game and ranks fourth in the league in made 3-pointers, is headed toward free agency again after signing a one-year deal with the team last summer.

The Heat have 11 players already under contract for next season, with $119.1MM in committed salary, well over the $101MM cap and close to the $123MM tax threshold, so the options with Ellington are limited. They can re-sign him and accept the tax, which seems unlikely because they aren’t title contenders, they can let Ellington sign elsewhere and lose a key rotation piece or they can try to trade someone else to clear cap room like they did last summer with Josh McRoberts.

Miami has early Bird rights on Ellington, which means it can go over the cap to pay him 175% of the $6.23MM he is making this season. That could result in a four-year deal starting at $10.9MM with annual raises of 8%, though Jackson doubts the Heat will have to offer the full amount to re-sign him.
There’s more this morning out of Miami:
  • With the trade deadline 11 days away, the Heat will only consider deals if they can obtain an All-Star level player, Jackson relays in the same story. Miami leads the Southeast Division and is fourth in the East at 28-21 and wouldn’t make a lateral move if it continues to play well. The Hornets may try to move guard Kemba Walker, but Jackson doesn’t see him as a good fit because of Goran Dragic‘s presence on the roster and Charlotte’s desire to get rid of another big contract in any Walker deal.
  • The Heat face a decision soon on rookie forward Derrick Jones, who has six NBA days remaining on his two-way contract, Jackson adds. The front office has discussed converting his deal into a standard contract after the deadline and giving him the roster spot currently occupied by A.J. Hammons, who has spent the season in the G League.
  • By signing Kelly Olynyk and drafting Bam Adebayo during the offseason, the Heat may have made center Hassan Whiteside expendable in a trade, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Whiteside is playing just 26 minutes per night, compared to 24 for Olynyk and 20 for Adebayo, and the Heat are showing they can be successful without him on the court. Whiteside tops the Miami payroll at nearly $23.8MM and Winderman lists a few salary matches in potential trades, including Kevin Love, Harrison Barnes, C.J. McCollum and Marc Gasol.

Southeast Notes: Walker, Vucevic, Oladipo, Whiteside, Wizards

Kemba Walker is the Hornets‘ best and most popular player — which makes him the most desirable trade chip as the February 8 trade deadline approaches. There’s an anxiety over Walker’s future with Charlotte which will not subside until the deadline comes and goes, Tom Sorensen of The Charlotte Observer writes.

At this juncture, a trade of Walker during the season seems unlikely. The Hornets sport a 20-27 record, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference and five games back of the Pacers for the eighth seed. Team owner Michael Jordan recently downplayed the rumors of a Walker trade, instead suggesting the team’s disappointing season has led the team to discussions with multiple teams.

Walker has enjoyed another great season for Charlotte, averaging 21.9 PPG and 5.9 APG in 45 games. He would be an upgrade for several teams, including his hometown Knicks, who have been a rumored trade partner, but nothing is imminent.

Check out other Southeast Division news and notes:

  • Magic center Nikola Vucevic recently made significant progress as he recovers from a fractured left hand, John Denton of NBA.com writes. Doctors have encouraged Vucevic to play more video games so that he get strength in the injured left hand. “They said anything where I’m using the hand – even playing video games – will be good for it, so I’m doing it,’’ Vucevic said.
  • Victor Oladipo is a 2018 NBA All-Star, which will haunt the Magic, a team that has lacked a true superstar talent, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Oladipo enjoyed three solid seasons with Orlando before a 2016 deal sent him, along with the draft rights of Domantas Sabonis, to the Thunder for veteran Serge Ibaka.
  • After a disappointing performance where he committed seven turnovers, Heat big man Hassan Whiteside heard criticism from everyone, including head coach Erik Spoelstra. Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes that Spoelstra expects more from Whiteside.
  • The Wizards should be better than they have played with the trio of John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter leading the pack. Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes that the time is now for Washington to make a trade deadline deal and make a playoff push.

Kyler’s Latest: Nuggets, Whiteside, Mavs, Kings

Nuggets veterans Kenneth Faried and Emmanuel Mudiay could be had in trades at this year’s deadline, league sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who suggests that the asking prices for those players likely wouldn’t be too high. I identified both Faried and Mudiay as potential trade candidates in my look at the Northwest on Wednesday.

If the Nuggets become a seller, Will Barton would also be a very intriguing trade chip, Kyler writes. However, that may be wishful thinking on the part of rival teams. Denver currently holds a playoff spot in the West and Barton has played the second-most minutes on the club, so it seems unlikely that the Nuggets would move him. Ultimately, the team may not end up trading anyone — Kyler suggests there’s a sense around the NBA that Denver isn’t looking to make a deal as aggressively as several other teams.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • Sources close to the Heat acknowledge that teams have called about Hassan Whiteside, but say he probably won’t be made available at the deadline, writes Kyler.
  • The Mavericks “have had eyes” for Julius Randle, and would be a potential trade partner for L.A. if the Lakers move the big man. Kyler refers to Dallas a “open for business” in terms of trades.
  • According to Kyler, the prevailing thought around the NBA is that Willy Hernangomez is the player most likely to be moved by the Knicks, though he’s unlikely to net a significant return.
  • While many league insiders think Nikola Mirotic will end up in Utah, the Jazz don’t currently seem to be on board with sending a first-round pick to the Bulls, says Kyler.
  • Team sources tell Kyler that Garrett Temple and Zach Randolph are more likely than not to finish the season in Sacramento, but the Kings have been “very open and receptive” to trying to find their veterans new homes.
  • Although the Magic are viewed as a team that could be active at the deadline, the team is reluctant to take back long-term salary and would be happy to ride out the season and make changes in the summer if necessary, per Kyler.

Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Heat, Howard, Wall

Heat center Hassan Whiteside believes his team’s lack of national exposure contributed to him being overlooked for the All-Star Game, relays Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Whiteside is having a solid season, averaging 14.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per night, and the Heat are fourth in the East at 27-20, but Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love and Al Horford were selected ahead of him as reserve frontcourt players.

“You know, it’s confusing,” Whiteside said. “I get confused about it sometimes. Is it about stats? Or is it about winning?”

Of the 15 teams with the league’s best records, the Heat were the only ones not to have an All-Star. Whiteside suggested it’s because the team has barely appeared on national television. TNT hasn’t televised a single Miami game this season, while ESPN has shown just one, with another scheduled broadcast bumped for a Celtics-Timberwolves contest.

“The NBA pushes teams,” he said. “The NBA pushes guys. The media pushes people. There’s teams all got Christmas games that stink, so I’m not going to say what teams, but you all know those teams that shouldn’t be playing on Christmas.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
  • The Heat have taken a creative approach to getting maximum value out of their two-way players, Jackson adds in a separate story. Both are close to their NBA limit, with nine days left for Derrick Jones and six for Derrick Walton. Miami is conserving their time by not having them travel with the team on the flight home from Houston after Monday’s game and not having them at practice today. All two-way players will be eligible to join their teams after their G League season [or playoff run] is over, even if they have used all 45 days. For Jones and Walton, that will be March 24, unless Sioux Falls makes the postseason.
  • Gambling on Dwight Howard has turned out to be a good move, Hornets coach Steve Clifford tells Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Howard’s problems with free throws and turnovers haven’t gone away, but his coach contends the 32-year-old center has made a difference by still being a dominant rebounder and rim protector. “This might be his best [season] since his second year in Houston,” Clifford said.
  • Mavericks guard J.J. Barea is getting a strong reaction to his negative comments about John Wall, relays Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. After the Wizards lost Monday in Dallas, Barea told reporters he doesn’t believe Wall is liked by his teammates. “I’ve never had a teammate say he didn’t like me,” Wall said to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). “If it’s true, nobody would be man enough to say it to me so I don’t believe it. … I don’t let that affect me.”

Kyler’s Latest: Magic, Walker, Kawhi, Bucks, Blazers

Teams that have been in contact with the Magic believe that Orlando’s front office is looking to shed some salary and trade players that don’t fit the club’s direction, Steve Kyler reports in his latest piece for Basketball Insiders. However, draft picks don’t appear to be atop the Magic’s wish list, with the team preferring to acquire expiring contracts and/or players on rookie contracts. Kyler suggests that Orlando would prefer to acquire players that are a little further along, rather than rebooting its rebuilding process by focusing on future picks.

While the Magic have “seriously” gauged potential trade interest in Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier still looks like the player most likely to be moved at the deadline, according to Kyler. Fournier is enjoying a career year, posting a career-best 18.0 PPG through 38 games this season, and he seems to be generating the most interest from rival teams.

Here are a few more highlights from Kyler’s latest look at the trade market:

  • League sources that have engaged the Hornets in Kemba Walker discussions believe that Charlotte is gathering facts and information, but is unlikely to move the star point guard at the February 8 deadline, according to Kyler. An offseason trade involving Walker may be more viable.
  • There’s a belief that the Hornets tried to engage the Spurs about a trade idea involving Walker and Kawhi Leonard, which may have been how the Walker rumors started, writes Kyler. Leonard was named specifically in Rick Bonnell’s recent Charlotte Observer story as the type of All-Star the Hornets would want to get back for Walker, so there may be something to that theory. However, league sources tell Kyler that the Spurs have immediately shut down any inquiries they’ve received on Leonard.
  • It’s not out of the question that Jabari Parker could become a trade chip for the Bucks if the right deal arises, says Kyler. League sources tell Basketball Insiders that the Bucks are “weighing where they are” with the former No. 2 overall pick, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. According to Kyler, Milwaukee continues to eye noteworthy bigs like DeAndre Jordan and Hassan Whiteside, dangling John Henson and some young players as potential bait.
  • In the wake of news that Damian Lillard met with Paul Allen last week, Kyler hears that the Trail Blazers owner has taken a “more hands-on approach” recently. That includes having top-level staff members gauge the general opinion around the NBA on president Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts.

Kyler’s Latest: Jordan, Kings, Mirotic, Whiteside

The streaky Clippers, who lost nine straight games back in November, have now won a season-high six consecutive contests, re-inserting themselves in the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Even though DeAndre Jordan has been sidelined with an ankle injury for the Clips’ last three wins, the streak seems to bode well for his chances of sticking in Los Angeles through the trade deadline.

As Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes, Clippers ownership and management doesn’t seem at all eager to blow up the roster. For now, the club is focused on seeing if it’s capable of competing in the West, preferring to wait until a bit closer to the deadline to evaluate all of its options.

If the Clippers do change course by February 8, the Bucks and Rockets figure to be among the teams with interest in Jordan, whose contract situation is worth monitoring. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that the veteran center won’t be able to top his $24.12MM player option as a free agent, meaning it’s possible he could decide to opt in for 2018/19. That possibility may affect how the Clippers and potential trade partners view Jordan at the deadline.

Here’s more from Kyler:

  • The Kings‘ veteran players are all potential trade candidates at the deadline, though some are more likely to be moved than others. George Hill, for example, won’t have much value, given his contract situation, his injury history, and his underwhelming play this season. Sources close to the situation tell Kyler that Sacramento seems to be trying to help its veterans find better situations as those players fall out of the team’s regular rotation.
  • Kyler hears that Nikola Mirotic‘s camp is pushing for the Bulls to pick up the forward’s $12.5MM team option for 2018/19. Until that team option is exercised, Mirotic has the ability to block a trade, giving him some leverage if Chicago wants to complete a deal. League sources tell Kyler that the Bulls have “gotten pretty far down the road” in talks with the Jazz and Pistons about Mirotic.
  • There’s “growing talk” around the NBA that the Heat would be open to the idea of moving Hassan Whiteside for the right mix of contracts and young players, Kyler writes. The Bucks and Cavaliers, both on the lookout for a center, would be obvious suitors, but it would tough for either team to make a deal, given Whiteside’s large cap hit ($23.78MM). John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert are among the players whose contracts might have to be included for Milwaukee or Cleveland to make a deal work, which doesn’t sound overly appealing for Miami.
  • The Mavericks are “dangling” some expiring contracts and appear to be seeking a promising prospect on a rookie scale deal, along with future picks, says Kyler. Dallas also has cap flexibility to take on a contract or two.

Community Shootaround: Hassan Whiteside

There is an element of uncertainty to Hassan Whiteside‘s role with the Heat. One can glean at least some semblance of understanding into how Erik Spoelstra views the big man through a series of post-game quotes from earlier this afternoon, Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel writes.

Spoelstra was quick to praise Whiteside after a spirited third quarter on Sunday afternoon but didn’t ultimately play him down the stretch, citing the play of the team’s second unit.

He made a big-time effort on both ends of the court. Even those offensive tips where we didn’t score, he was burning calories and expending a lot of energy. Those extra, multiple efforts are inspiring. I really believe those inspire the players coming in the game,” Spoelstra said. “[…] The next challenge is to be consistent. I love what he did in the third quarter.

It’s unclear what will come of Whiteside’s time with the Heat. While he’s averaged a solid 13.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game, he seems to have resigned to the fact that he may not enter games in fourth quarters.

When those guys are playing great, I don’t come in,” he said. “Those guys were playing great.”

The Heat currently sit 25-17, fourth in the Eastern Conference. That’s a dangerous spot for a team with a coach known for bringing out the most in his players.

While 28-year-old Whiteside would qualify by most accounts as the team’s top talent, they’ve played .500 basketball without him and could presumably net a piece or two to help them down the stretch if they were willing to move him.

Given that Whiteside’s current role with the squad is so unconventional, would the franchise be better off to gauge the trade market for the big man?

Weigh in on what you think the Heat will end up doing with their center below.


Southeast Notes: Whiteside, Jones, Hornets, Gordon

If the Heat decide to deal Hassan Whiteside, they may find his trade value is lower than expected, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Miami hasn’t expressed a desire to move Whiteside, but Jackson believes it could happen if rookie Bam Adebayo and free agent addition Kelly Olynyk continue to provide quality minutes at the center spot.

Jackson talked to a pair of unidentified scouts about the possible return in a Whiteside deal, with one comparing it to what the Kings received when they traded DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans. Sacramento got a young guard in Buddy Hield, an impending free agent in Tyreke Evans, along with Langston Galloway and a first- and second-round pick. The scout notes that Cousins is more talented than Whiteside, but has a more volatile reputation.

Finances would figure into any deal involving Whiteside, who makes nearly $23.8MM this year and more than $24.4MM next year with a player option worth about $27MM for 2019/20. His playing time has been cut to 25.7 minutes per game this season and his scoring and rebounding averages have fallen as a result.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat will face a decision soon on Derrick Jones, who has about 14 NBA days left on his two-way contract, Jackson adds in the same story. The Heat signed Jones at the end of December, and his allowable NBA service time was pro-rated. He has appeared in three games since then, averaging 5.0 points in nearly 17 minutes per night. Miami could open a roster spot by cutting A.J. Hammons, who has remained in the G League since being acquired from Dallas in an offseason trade.
  • Poor shooting and a lack of roster depth have brought down a Hornets team that looked promising two seasons ago, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. GM Rich Cho has a spotty draft record and made a costly error in 2016 when he traded the No. 22 pick to Sacramento for Marco Belinelli, who didn’t contribute much before being shipped to the Hawks a year later. With the Hornets capped out at least through the end of next season, Ziller sees little hope for a quick turnaround in Charlotte.
  • Aaron Gordon is having his best statistical season by far, but it’s not resulting in more wins for the Magic, relays John Denton of NBA.com. Gordon hasn’t come close to a playoff spot in his four years in Orlando, but he remains confident that things will turn around. “[The losing] hurts and it’s not something that I like obviously, but I do my best to continue to focus on the present moment,’’ Gordon said. “Win, to me, stands for What’s Important Now. What’s important now is continuing to get better so that when the opportunity presents itself I’m ready and we’re ready as a team.”

Heat Rumors: Winslow, Whiteside, Dragic, Ellington

Although the Heat lack a superstar player, there’s optimism within the organization that the team is capable of winning upwards of 50 games and a playoff round or two. Still, the Heat are aware that they face “major questions” about their ceiling, Zach Lowe writes in his latest piece for ESPN.com. As such, Miami is a team that figures to be active as the trade deadline approaches.

According to Lowe, the Heat – who may be in the tax next season – are projecting optimism that they could trade the lucrative new long-term contracts handed out to the likes of Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Kelly Olynyk if they need to. However, rival executives are skeptical that all those deals would be easily movable.

Here’s more from Lowe on the Heat’s outlook and trade possibilities:

  • Justise Winslow has been surpassed by Josh Richardson as the Heat’s small forward of the future, while Johnson has emerged as Miami’s top small-ball power forward, according to Lowe, who suggests that Winslow is a potential trade chip for the Heat. Lowe adds that multiple rival execs are calling Winslow the Heat’s version of Jahlil Okafor, though he thinks that’s “a little much.”
  • The Heat’s best and most realistic trade package if they look to make a big splash would likely be Winslow and Hassan Whiteside, says Lowe. Neither player has been a major part of Miami’s best crunch-time lineup as of late, so the club could dangle that duo in search of a star center.
  • The Heat have shown no interest in trading Goran Dragic, per Lowe’s league sources.
  • Waiters’ ankle injury has created some tension in Miami, with Waiters seeking a second opinion after the team put him on a non-surgical rehab program. The two sides hope to get clarity on Waiters’ recovery this week or next, according to Lowe, who notes that the veteran guard “almost feels redundant” on a Heat roster that features several ball-handlers.
  • Long-term luxury tax concerns for the Heat may cost them Wayne Ellington. The veteran sharpshooter is in line for a raise when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July and Miami likely won’t be able to afford him, prompting Lowe to wonder if the club would consider trading him rather than losing him for nothing.
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