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Report: Heat trading Hassan Whiteside to Trail Blazers

Miami Heat v Portland Trail Blazers

PORTLAND, OR - FEBRUARY 5: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat dunks the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers on February 5, 2019 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE/Getty Images

The Heat are scrambling to complete their sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler after the Mavericks portion of the deal fell through.

That means trading Hassan Whiteside to the Trail Blazers for Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This will help the Heat with their hard-cap challenge. They trim about $4 million in salary (give or take Harkless’ incentives).

But this won’t help Miami with the Butler trade itself. The Heat must still send out $15,997,024 of salary in addition to Josh Richardson’s in the sign-and-trade. Harkless and Leonard can’t be aggregated for two months. I doubt Philadelphia and Butler will wait that long.

So, work remains for Miami. But this is a step.

Likewise, Portland moves ahead in its goals without exactly solving everything.

When Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey chases a highly paid center, he never gives up. He signed Enes Kanter years after giving Kanter a near-max offer sheet that the Thunder matched. Now, Olshey gets another one-time max free-agency target in Whiteside.

Whiteside should provide an upgrade at center while Jusuf Nurkic remains sidelined. When Nurkic returns, Whiteside likely becomes an extremely highly paid backup.

But that’s a problem only for Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen. On an expiring contract, Whiteside isn’t a long-term burden. Allen’s willingness to spend next season should make Portland better on the court and should be commended.

Harkless contributes on the wing, where talent is scarcer than center. He’s a real loss in Portland. But the Trail Blazers’ need was clearer at center.