Dwight Howard is reportedly unhappy in Houston – so unhappy that he apparently wants a trade. Is it possible that the Miami Heat could trade, say, Hassan Whiteside and put Howard with Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Goran Dragic? That would make quite the foursome, no?
It would, yes. But there’s just one problem.
“There’s been no real indications that the Heat are actually looking at Howard,” CBSSports.com NBA writer Matt Moore said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “There’s been reports that that makes sense but not necessarily that the Heat legitimately have interest. Because bear in mind: The Miami Heat are very clearly going after Kevin Durant. That’s their No. 1 option. If they want to go after Kevin Durant, they want to make sure they have the financial flexibility to build a team around Durant if he were to choose them in free agency. It may seem like an outside shot, but that’s still the plan.”
Houston, which reached the Western Conference Finals last year, is off to a disappointing 12-14 start. Miami, meanwhile, is a respectable 14-9, but might look to trade Whiteside, who is averaging 12.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game.
Those are pretty solid numbers, especially from a 26-year-old 7-footer. So, why would the Heat want to get rid of him?
“I think with Whiteside, the issue is he blocks all these shots and he’s definitely a phenomenal physical talent and he has a lot of plusses that he brings: He’s great at finishing on alley-oops and things like that,” Moore said. “But he’s still a hothead. He comes with his own off-court issues in terms of team chemistry and things like that and attitude. And also, as many shots as he blocks, his defensive awareness in terms of making the smart rotation and not leaving his man to go try for that chase-down block isn’t great. His actual defensive impact isn’t as high as his block number might indicate. He’ll get there, but he’s also 26. He’s going to be a free agent as well. You’re talking about giving max money for that guy versus Dwight Howard, who at least has the veteran knowledge and is maybe a little less combustible, even with his history, than Whiteside. It’s not really a great choice either way.”