Hassan Whiteside joined the Portland Trail Blazers last summer after the Miami Heat dealt his expiring contract in a multi-team trade. Whiteside has enjoyed rejuvenated play this season, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and a league-leading 3.1 blocks per game. His expiring contract was a focus at the deadline as a possible trade piece, yet he remained in Portland, despite a deal for Kevin Love that he was reportedly offered in.
As the season winds down and NBA Free Agency approaches, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report evaluated Whiteside’s “flight-risk meter”, pointing to possible redundancy with Portland’s injured big men returning next season as a motivator for Whiteside to leave:
Jusuf Nurkic (who had a stellar 2018-19) and Zach Collins should both be back from injuries. And both are under more-than-reasonable contracts. Spending the money vacated by Whiteside’s $27.1 expiring deal on wing defenders is probably the wiser play for Portland.
The Blazers never really recovered from the loss of size, defense and versatility previously provided by Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. With Lillard and CJ McCollum making up the starting backcourt, you need as much defensive help as you can get on the perimeter.
Will Whiteside willingly choose to stay in Portland if Nurkic and Collins are healthy and ready to assume their starter-level roles again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.