Yea, I know what you are thinking. Hassan Whiteside? Really? With the reputation he has? I know, and I get it. But Whiteside has had an excellent season and will be a free agent this summer. He is averaging 15.6 points and 14 rebounds per game – a resurgent campaign despite Portland’s overall struggles. Jason Quick of The Athletic is saying there is a 50-50 chance Whiteside could be traded, making this a potentially low-cost, but talented acquisition, that also comes with its share of baggage.
Now, I will go on the record and say that I am not in favor whatsoever in giving up assets for a short-term fix on a team that has about a zero percent chance of reaching the playoffs. Especially when adding talent at this point could jeopardize the Hawks draft position. However, given the names that Atlanta has been linked to – Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, Jakob Poeltl, and Dewayne Dedmon – Whiteside fits the mold of what Hawks ownership, who is hungry to get better, is looking for.
Like these other names, Whiteside is a seven-footer who can crash the boards, which would fix the most significant liability the Hawks currently possess. They did not want to give up the assets or meet the future contractual demands required for Drummond, but Whiteside’s value is significantly lower. If the Hawks can package one of their expiring deals and, at the most, a second-rounder to get Trae Young and company used to playing with the type of center they are looking for, this may not be out of the question. I’m not sure that will be enough to get the job done, but perhaps they can help the Blazers open up a roster spot as the team did for the Timberwolves.
The Blazers have arguably had the most disappointing season in the NBA. A year after finding themselves in the Western Conference Finals, a Blazers team that looked a lot sexier on paper is now 20-27, though they are still only a few games out of playoff contention in the Western Conference. With Jusuf Nurkic planning a return around the All-Star Break, they may want to give him the majority of the starter’s minutes, and not have the headache of dealing with an unhappy Whiteside.
The Hawks reportedly promised Trae Young “help” earlier this season, though the addition of Jeff Teague has not looked to have improved matters much early. He has been outperformed by Brandon Goodwin, but the idea behind the trade is still one to get behind. Whiteside may be the most talented player they can acquire without giving up much, as they try to find the right blueprint for the future.
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