With the NBA trade deadline just three days away, teams all over the league have been on the phones trying to get the best deal for their team. The Miami Heat have been one of the more active teams in conversation as the fifth-placed team in the East is looking for more help to bolster their chances of making a deep playoff run.
According to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, the Heat have been in talks with the Houston Rockets for center Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard could be moved by Thursday's trade deadline. Miami is talking with Houston about a deal that would include Hassan Whiteside.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 15, 2016
It's been long reported that Howard is unhappy in Houston due to being the second option behind MVP runner-up James Harden. With a player option in the summer, Howard is highly expected to opt of his 23.2 million dollar option for the '16-17 season, become a free agent and test the open market.
Similarly, so is Hassan Whiteside. The leading shot blocker in the NBA is a free agent after this season and will most likely command max dollars. With Whiteside making just $981,348 this season, the Heat would have to add a few other players in a potential deal to make the trade happen.
A possible trade scenario would look like this : Howard for Hassan Whiteside, Luol Deng, Chris Anderson and Josh McRoberts (or Udonis Haslem).
Why the Heat do it
Apart from the ridiculous stats Whiteside has put up, he's done very little to prove to the Heat he could be a franchise player. From disciplinary problems to attitude issues, Whiteside, who is currently suspended for elbowing Boban Marjanovic last week, has demonstrated he has made very little progress. Even with the amazing stats, advanced metrics have shown the Heat are better without Whiteside on the floor.
Replacing the center with Howard gives the Heat a proven All-Star who will immediately help the Heat. Howard, who once led his team to the Finals in 2009, is still capable of having in an immeasurable impact on the game. The 30-year-old has showed that few a times in just the past month - going for 36 points and 26 rebounds against the Clippers in January and putting up 28 points and 13 rebounds versus the Trail Blazers just before the break.
Harden, who has the third highest usage rate in the NBA (33.3%), has prevented Howard from unleashing his talents. In Miami, Howard would be utilized heavily as Wade and Bosh need more help in the offense. From setting solid screens to playing with an array of point guards, Howard may be the answer to Goran Dragic's woes and help the Heat's guard find his rhythm.
Why the Rockets do it
The Rockets get a whole lot of defense in this trade. The team that just went to the Western Conference Finals last year is giving up 106.8 points a game this season, second-to-last in the league.
No matter where Whiteside plays he's going to give it his all. The 26-year old has done uncanny things in his short time with Heat, such as the four triple-doubles (with blocks) he's accumulated in less than 100 games. Whiteside also leads the league in blocks with 3.89 a game. In 45 games, the Heat big man has a total of 189 rejections; the next closest player, Serge Ibaka, has 118 in 54 games. With free agency looming, Whiteside will be sure to continue the strong production in order to raise his stock for the summer.
Adding Deng and McRoberts give the Rockets more versatility off the bench. Deng, a proven defensive star, is desperate to win a championship and will comply to any role to achieve that goal. The two-time All-Star will take a load of the defensive responsibility and take some pressure off Harden's shoulders. McRoberts, 28, can still offer a lot when healthy. Certainly a better distributor than Josh Smith, McRoberts would give the Rockets bench another dimension with his craft play-making skills.