Assuming Anthony Davis re-signs with the Los Angeles Lakers as planned, Hassan Whiteside will soon be left as the best remaining free agent big man on the market.
Whiteside averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 2.9 blocks in 30 minutes of action per game for the Portland Trail Blazers last year. Numbers like that, coupled with just how many big men are getting paid this offseason, should’ve resulted in the 31-year-old already being off the board. Yet for some reason he remains. Even a player who has been perpetually injured in DeMarcus Cousins got a contract from the Houston Rockets before him.
So is Whiteside a lost cause? No. Far from it. He currently has two very interesting options in front of him: the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 23, 2020
“The interest in Hassan Whiteside from the Sacramento Kings is real from what I’m told,” he tweeted out.
Whiteside tends to be a tough player to assess because his stats are always so much more impressive than his overall impact. That said, he could still offer a strong boost to a Kings team that needs to start surrounding the newly re-signed De’Aaron Fox with established talent.
The Kings have already lost two centers so far this offseason with Alex Len departing to the Toronto Raptors and Harry Giles heading to the Blazers. Whiteside could be a way to fill the gap in the middle while not overspending.
Paulina Gretzky has taken Masters victory celebrations to a new level. https://t.co/K1yliTiGao
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 22, 2020
Mind you, this is an organization that last year signed Dewayne Dedmon to a three-year, $40 million contract and then shipped him out to the Atlanta Hawks months later (along with two second round draft picks). Signing Whiteside to a manageable, fair deal would not come back to bite the front office in the way that move did.
If not the Kings, LA would also make some sense.
Obviously the Lakers already signed two big men this offseason in Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell, but that may not be enough. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers want to sign another center in hopes of not overtaxing Davis next year.
Gordon Hayward’s wife has never been one to bite her tongue. https://t.co/4yVNe8pMbU
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 21, 2020
“Even though Davis is more than capable at center and played the position plenty during the Lakers’ postseason run, sources told ESPN that it remains a priority for L.A.’s front office to fill the roster with other reliable centers so that Davis doesn’t have to bear the brunt of the 5 position during the arduous regular season,” he wrote.
Whiteside could provide a good presence off the bench much in the same Dwight Howard did last season. Plus, Gasol is 35. Him staying healthy for the entirety of an NBA season seems unlikely. Having a Plan B in place would behoove the defending champs.
One way or another, Whiteside will likely be off the board soon.
Which team will he ultimately end up with? Time will tell.