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Rumor: Hassan Whiteside not considered untouchable in trade talks

Hassan Whiteside, Tyler Johnson

The Miami Heat have not completely fallen off a cliff without star big man Hassan Whiteside. Rookie Bam Adebayo has stepped in to play solid minutes along the Heat frontcourt, providing good energy and defense when needed.

But could Adebayo’s promising play in Whiteside’s absence suddenly make Whiteside expendable? A fan put that question up to Tom D’Angelo of the Palm Beach Post, and while D’Angelo says Whiteside’s not untouchable, his availability will depend on different factors, such as where the Heat stand in the playoff race.

Whiteside is in the second year of a four-year, $98 million deal and he certainly is not untouchable. But will the Heat actively shop their defensive anchor? That question should be easier to answer as we get closer to the Feb. 8 trade deadline and beyond.

As long as the Heat stay in the hunt, Pat Riley will not weaken the team. Making the playoffs is important to Riley and the players. But Riley never stops exploring ways to get better and if Adebayo continues to improve and the Heat believe he and Kelly Olynyk can anchor the middle, than, yes, Whiteside becomes a bit more expendable.

While Whiteside is a very productive player when healthy, the Heat could find it tough to trade his sizable contract even if they were willing to let him go. Demand for big men isn’t exactly high these days, and especially not ones who still have big money owed to them.

At the moment, Whiteside seems to be more valuable to the Heat than any other team as he offers them the best chance to win when he’s right. But if that changes in the near future, expect the master deal-maker in Riley to see what he can get for him.