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Heat trade Hassan Whiteside to Trail Blazers for Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless

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Miami is able to free up more cap space to be able to acquire Jimmy Butler but work remains.

NBA: Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat have reportedly traded center Hassan Whiteside to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for center Meyers Leonard and forward Maurice Harkless. As solid as the deal already looks on paper, the trade will be able to free up nearly $5 million in cap space to help in their efforts to take on incoming All-Star Jimmy Butler.

Just hours after the Miami Heat were able to reportedly acquire Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers in a sign-and-trade deal yesterday, everything seemed on the verge of collapsing after the Dallas Mavericks apparently backed out of a deal to acquire Goran Dragic. When the modified deal instead included Kelly Olynyk and Derrick Jones Jr., it was the Heat who reportedly did not want to part with Jones Jr.

Whatever the case may be, this new deal with Portland is a win-win for Miami and accomplishes several goals. First and foremost it helps facilitate the Butler deal but will also send away the disgruntled Whiteside, who saw his playing time (and fourth quarter minutes) decrease and his role reduced with the emergence of Bam Adebayo, who can now take on a more prominent position with the team. Leonard is also a very serviceable big man that can back up Bam as well.

Miami also gets to keep Dragic and his expiring contract, along with Jones Jr. and Olynyk — at least for the time being. They may not be done wheeling and dealing, perhaps even an outside shot at acquiring Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, but this trade is far better than the original deal with Dallas.

Even better, Pat Riley and the front office did not have to attach any assets, such as a promising young player or a future draft pick, to rid themselves of Whiteside. All three players involved in today’s deal are playing with expiring contracts.

We’ll have more on this deal as more information comes in but the future is looking bright for the Heat with a much more dynamic roster and the ability to hold on to most of their young core.