Cleveland Cavaliers rumored to have a trade package ready for Hassan Whiteside

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images /

The Cleveland Cavaliers would be wise to trade for Hassan Whiteside.

According to All U Can Heat’s Michael Schofield, the Cleveland Cavaliers are rumored to have a trade package ready for shot-blocker extraordinaire Hassan Whiteside.

The rumored deal would see Whiteside sent to the Cavs while sharpshooter Kyle Korver and Tristan Thompson, the antithesis of Whiteside as a center, would be sent to the Miami Heat.

Per Schofield:

"“…never shy about making deals, the Cavaliers are rumored to still be interested in Whiteside.The rumored potential deal would send Whiteside to Cleveland in exchange for Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver.”"

If true, this is big.

Not just big in terms of it being a splash move but big because it’s the type of move that the Cavs have needed for quite some time.

Long has it been contended that the Cavs lack a true shot-blocker.

Though Tristan Thompson was a five-star recruit in high school who averaged 2.4 blocks per game in his lone season at the University of Texas, he’s only averaged 0.7 blocks per game in his seven-year career.

With his lack of height (6-foot-9) and the athletic ability of NBA players, in order to be a respectable rim-protector, Thompson would have to be able to get off of his feet quicker than he’s shown that he’s able to do thus far in his career.

Even with the acquisition of the springy Larry Nance Jr., a center with great defensive instincts and elite athleticism, the Cavs didn’t end up with a top-tier shot-blocker.

At 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, Nance Jr. is also undersized and, to this point in his career, his length and athleticism has been more useful when he’s jumping into opponents’ passing lanes. He’s averaged 1.2 steals per game in his three-year career compared to just 0.5 blocks per game.

As undersized centers, Thompson and Nance also have the misfortune of not being imposing figures in the paint who deter drives to the rim with their sheer size. That’s another way that centers can help teams when their block numbers aren’t significantly high but it’s not a way that Thompson or Nance help the team.

Last season, Thompson allowed opposing players to shoot 4.3 percent above their regular season average when they were within six feet of the rim. Nance Jr. allowed opposing players to shoot 3.2 percent above their regular season average when they were within six feet of the rim.

Whiteside is a 7-foot-tall, 265 pound center who has blocked 2.4 shots per game for his career. He has the timing, athleticism and physical profile that make him an ideal rim-protector.

According to, Whiteside caused players to shoot 9.1 percent below their regular season average when they were within six feet of the rim.

All that obviously makes you wonder why the Heat would ever want to move him.

For one, the Heat have a center that they really like behind him on the depth chart in Bam Adebayo, the 14th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

Gathering just 1.1 blocks per 36 minutes last season and 1.5 blocks per game in his lone season at Kentucky, he’s obviously not a generational shot-blocker.

However, he’s a fluid and explosive athlete more interested in making winning plays than highlight plays and that’s endeared him to the Heat, particularly Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra. It’s also allowed him to be effective as a defender, as he caused opponents to shoot 5.5 percent below their regular season average and 9.3 percent below their regular season average on shots within six feet of the rim.

Subsequently, as a rookie, Adebayo would play at least 20 minutes in 31 games (out of 69) last season. For comparison, Whiteside played at least 20 minutes in 43 games (out of 54) last season.

To that point, there are two major criticisms of Whiteside’s game at this point that are Adebayo’s strengths: a lack of fluid, lateral agility and an affinity for making the highlight play, which may not be a winning play.

With the frustrations voiced by Whiteside last season in regards to his role and his playing time, it would probably be best for the Heat to move on from him. Especially if they want to start Adebayo, a player who has also shown himself to be valuable as passer.

Thompson will give the Heat a mobile center who can move well enough laterally to switch onto perimeter players. Thompson is also a low-maintenance player who will never complain about his role, so he may be a healthier fixture in the Heat locker room than Whiteside as well.

For the Cavs, bringing in Whiteside may not fit their plans for Nance Jr., who they consider a cornerstone piece.

However, it does give them time to see what Nance’s best position and role is, maximizing his effectiveness without forcing him to play against the bigger centers.

It also makes them even more competitive because Whiteside is a more talented rebounder and defender than Thompson.

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Adding Korver, an elite shooter with a career three-point percentage of 43.1 and the fourth-most threes of all-time will be quite the addition for a Heat team full of on-ball playmakers but lacking enough off-ball threats to play at an optimal level.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will benefit from the trade because they’ll clear up their logjam at shooting guard.

With Rodney Hood, J.R. Smith, Jordan Clarkson and David Nwaba on the roster, the Cleveland Cavaliers are going to be hard-pressed finding enough minutes for all of their quality wings.

Due to Korver’s age (37-years-old), he could be the odd man out of the youth movement. Because of his cap-friendly contract, he just so happens to be the most tradeable shooting guard as well.

If this trade happens, the Cavs could have frontcourt unit of Whiteside, Cedi Osman and five-time All-Star Kevin Love with a backcourt of Hood and eighth overall pick Collin Sexton. That doesn’t guarantee them a 50-win season but it nearly guarantees that they’ll have a playoff berth.

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Whiteside averaged 14.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game last season. He shot 54.0 percent from the field.

*All stats gathered from