Hassan Whiteside Joins Trail Blazers, McCollum & Lillard
The NBA free agency madness continues. The Miami Heat, picking up Jimmy Butler, has traded their star center Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Heat will receive Moe Harkless and Meyers Leonard for Whiteside, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Miami is finalizing a trade to send center Hassan Whiteside to Portland for Mo Harkless and Meyers Leonard, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
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The Trail Blazers made a run to the Western Conference semifinals last season behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but got swept 4-0 to the Golden State Warriors. The Trail Blazers seem to be serious contenders now with the acquisition of Whiteside. He is an elite rim protector and provides improved post work from Enes Kanter, who was just traded to the Boston Celtics. Josef Nurkic is the current starting center for the Trail Blazers, but suffered a nasty leg injury that saw him out for the remainder of the season. It’s unknown what their plans are with Nurkic after picking up Whiteside. Perhaps Nurkic will come off the bench as Whiteside will be an unrestricted free-agent after next season.
Whiteside averaged 14 points a game in the 2017-18 season, along with almost 12 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game. He was hurt over half the season last year, missing 54 games. He is on his last year of his four-year, $98 million deal he had with the Heat, which will transfer over to the Trail Blazers cap. Lillard signed a super-max deal on Sunday, worth $196 million for four years.
“Each year we’ve come back with the right attitude,” Lillard said at the end of last season, according to NBA.com. “We’ve been able to stick together through a lot of adversity and I think just what we’ve hung our hats on, what we’ve believed in, our culture, the togetherness, we’ve been able to truly build on that. And I think we should be encouraged.”
From the Heat’s perspective, its a load-off from Whiteside’s expensive contract. He missed almost two-thirds of the season last year, and picked up Harkless and Leonard for him. Bam Adebayo took his starting spot at the end of the season after consistently performing, and may prove to be a suitable replacement in due time. With Butler leading the Heat now, head coach Erik Spoelstra has a new identity for his team.
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