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Blazers Trading Harkless, Leonard for Hassan Whiteside

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Whiteside lands in Portland after the team chased him in the summer of 2016.

NBA: Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are trading Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard to the Miami Heat for Hassan Whiteside, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Portland previously went after Whiteside in the summer of 2016; he said, after signing with Miami, that the Blazers were his “second option.”

Whiteside has featured prominently with the Heat since the 2014-15 season, a breakout year for the center after stints in the D-League. He averaged 12.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg and 1.9 bpg for the Heat last season.

Whiteside is in the last year of a four-year deal.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks highlights, the deal created a trade exception for Miami and helped clear $4.8 million in salary. With the Heat trying to complete a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, every bit of flexibility helps:

As part of the trade, Miami will create a $4.79M trade exception and clear an additional $4.8M in salary by taking back Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless. The cap flexibility will help Miami when it comes to the $138.9M hard cap. The Heat will become a hard capped team when they acquire Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade

Salary cap expert Albert Nahmad says that Leonard and Harkless can’t be part of the Butler sign-and-trade:

Harkless will be redirected to the LA Clippers as this trade is part of a larger four-team trade headlined by Jimmy Butler, who will end up in Miami.