NBA Rumors: Hassan Whiteside Trade To Hornets Could Happen This Summer

Luke Babbitt, Hassan Whiteside. Heat at Wizards 11/19/16 (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Luke Babbitt, Hassan Whiteside. Heat at Wizards 11/19/16 (CC BY-SA 2.0) (Photo: Keith Allison/Flickr)

The Miami Heat have a long summer ahead and at least four players are believed to be on the way out. Goran Dragic, Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and James Johnson have been singled out as players that team president Pat Riley may likely ship out as the Heat try to overhaul their roster with talent that can deliver.

The four players mentioned account for about $75 million in salary. While it may seem hard to immediately deal off all of them, there are precedents to consider. As far as Whiteside and Dragic, they first have to opt-in on their contracts before Riley can figure out what to do with them. Of the two, Whiteside should still have his share of suitors despite a big dip in his performance the previous years, the Miami Herald said.

But the key here is the money involved. Whiteside could make as much as $27 million next season if he exercises the player option. Should he opt out, pundits believe it will be a big risk. He is unlikely to get the same hefty sum from other NBA teams in free agency - meaning it would be best for him to opt in and wait for a trade to happen. However, that team remains unknown as of this writing.

One team that Whiteside is seemingly interested in is the Charlotte Hornets. The 7-footer put up something on social media recently, strongly hinting his preferred next destination. The choice hardly comes as a surprise to some seeing how the 29-year-old is from Gastonia, North Carolina. As of this writing, the Hornets have not shown any indication of being interested in Whiteside although that could all change in the summer.

Another factor, however, comes in the form of money. The best the Hornets could offer the defensive-minded center is their whole mid-level exception that would need three years to recoup, Fan Sided said. So for Whiteside to fit into that, it means he must opt out and get in via the free agency route. It is a risky predicament, meaning the Hornets could have a change of heart and offer him lesser money. Some other teams could do the same, seeing how Whiteside's performance has dipped since re-signing with the Heat back in 2017.

A hip injury saw Whiteside relegated to the bench and the 33rd overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft continues to struggle to recall his old form. A change of scenery could do the trick although the investment any NBA team would be willing to shell out may not near his $27 million deal for next season.

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