Bryan Colangelo, the Philadelphia 76ers GM said of his young frontcourt, "But at the end of the day, the reality says probably one has to go at some point — but only when the deal is right."
The 76ers drafted forward Ben Simmons, who appears to be their franchise player for the future. He joins previous top picks Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid, and about-to-be-signed Dario Saric.
The Miami Heat roster currently has 16 players under contract. They are allowed to sign 20 players until opening day, when enough players have to be cut to reach the NBA maximum of 15 players on a team. Using excess players, could Pat Riley arrange a deal with the 76ers and possibly a third team to land an Okafor or Noel on the Heat?
The Miami Heat has a crowded backcourt of Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Tyler Johnson, Briante Weber, Rodney McGruder, Wayne Ellington and only one ball. Which ones could be moved if the price is right?
Hassan Whiteside is not going anywhere. This leaves Justise Winslow and Chris Bosh as the starting forwards, with Derrick Williams as the primary rotation forward. The 76ers do not need another center or power forward, but quality guards to balance their team.
Another possible idea would be to acquire an Okafor or Noel and pack either one with Dragic and Winslow for a Russell Westbrook. The combinations of players are practically endless. Riley has gathered valuable trading chips for a multi-team trade to land a whale this year, without comprising the future.
According to Howard Beck in Las Vegas,
"What I’m hearing here in Las Vegas from some GMs is that, not only do they think that Westbrook will get traded, that it will be sooner than later — probably before the season starts — and that the most likely destination right now would be the Boston Celtics."
Whiteside would replace Serge Ibaka as a dunk partner for Westbrook. Weber's motor is as manic as Westbrook's. They know only a single speed: overdrive. Along with Whiteside, Bosh, and Tyler (who cannot be traded for a year), the Heat would be instant contenders in the Eastern Conference. If Bosh is not cleared, the Heat have serviceable enough forwards to get the job done with Westbrook on board
Rather than suffer the fiasco of chasing whales via free-agency again, a trade before February or sooner is a more dependable route. If a whale is landed this season, Miami would be in the thick of 2017 playoff battle with the new kid in town.
Perhaps the plan all along was to replace Dwyane Wade with Westbrook. Ever the master dealer, Pat Riley is accumulating blue chips to cash them in when the time is right.