The Trail Blazers have two sizable expiring contracts heading into the NBA Trade Deadline. Those two contracts are tied to Hassan Whiteside and Kent Bazemore. Unsurprisingly, both players were highlighted in ESPN’s latest look at the NBA’s trade landscape.
ESPN’s NBA analyst Bobby Marks made the case that the Blazers could go against the grain and keep Whiteside past the deadline.
It would be difficult for the Blazers to part with Whiteside in a trade. He is on a $27.1 million contract, but he’s looking much more like the player who had a career year in 2015-16, making him a reliable insurance policy while Jusuf Nurkic continues his injury rehab. Holding on to Whiteside despite his expiring deal would give Portland the option to sign him as a free agent (he has Bird rights) or use him as an asset in the offseason in a sign-and-trade.
In regards to Bazemore, Marks presented an idea that involved a trade package that would net midseason reinforcements.
Bazemore has struggled to shoot the ball well in Portland. Could his $19.1 million contract and a lottery-protected first-rounder be enough for a player such as Danilo Gallinari? Although Carmelo Anthony has filled in admirably at power forward, Gallinari would give Portland even more options. He would also come with Bird rights in the offseason.
Whiteside is in the final year of a four-year, $98 million contract that he signed with the Heat in the summer of 2016. He is currently averaging 15.5 points, 13.9 rebounds and a league-leading 2.9 blocks per game.
You can read Marks’ league-wide analysis of the trade market at ESPN+ (subscription required).