The Portland Trail Blazers will acquire Hassan Whiteside in a four-team trade with the Miami Heat, according to multiple reports.
Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports the Heat are trading Whiteside to the Blazers for big men Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless. News of the deal was first reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The trade was also reported by Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
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
The deal reportedly is tied to a four-team trade that will send All-Star Jimmy Butler to the Heat, who needed to clear cap space in order to acquire Butler in a sign-and-trade.
Whiteside was a marquee free agent in the summer of 2016, when he signed a four-year, $98 million deal with the Heat. He responded with a career season in 2016-17, averaging 17 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for Miami. However, his game and role with Miami have been on the decline since then.
He is entering the final season of a four-year, $98 million contract. He lost his starting spot to Bam Adebayo in the second half of last season, but figures to offer frontline depth to a Trail Blazers team that lost center Jusuf Nurkic to a broken leg late last season.
In 2017-18, he averaged 14 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 1.7 bpg, but was limited to 54 games because of a myriad of various injuries. That season was trying for Whiteside and the Heat as he was a nonfactor for Miami in its first-round series loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He complained at the time about how he was being utilized by coach Erik Spoelstra, something team president Pat Riley made clear he wasn't happy with.
Whiteside dealt with injuries during the season and didn't want to wear a knee brace that the Heat insisted upon, and Riley said that if Whiteside and Spoelstra need an intervention to solve their relationship issues - if any - he'll handle it. Last season, he averaged 12.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg and 1.9 bpg as the Heat featured Josh Richardson as their go-to player throughout the season. Richardson is thought to be a player included in the looming Butler deal, which has been held up by a series of snags.
The Blazers have been plenty busy in the offseason, trading reserve Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks for Kent Bazemore before free agency opened. The Blazers reportedly are trying to sign star guard Damian Lillard to a "supermax" deal this offseason and reportedly set to re-sign Rodney Hood and add guard Mario Hezonja as well in free agency.
Harkless averaged 7.7 points last season for the Blazers. He reportedly will go to the Clippers as part of the four-team deal.
Leonard had a 30-point game in Portland's final game last season, the one where the Trail Blazers were swept out of the Western Conference finals by the Golden State Warriors. He averaged 5.9 points last season, and has spent each of his first seven NBA seasons in Portland.
All three of the players involved in the Miami-Portland trade have expiring contracts this season.
Blazers guard CJ McCollum gave a farewell message to Leonard and Harkless via Twitter, writing: "Gonna miss y’all man. Losing some great people and teammates. Hope y’all do y’all thang in mia. I’ll be hitting y’all lines. We had a special bond with this group these last few years."
Gonna miss y’all man @moe_harkless @MeyersLeonard11 . Losing some great people and teammates. Hope y’all do y’all thang in mia. I’ll be hitting y’all lines. We had a special bond with this group these last few years ✊🏾— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) July 1, 2019
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.