The Portland Trail Blazers keep dealing this offseason.
Days after Portland introduced recently-acquired guard Kent Bazemore, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Blazers are set to acquire centre Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat in exchange for centre Meyers Leonard and forward Moe Harkless.
Miami is finalizing a trade to send center Hassan Whiteside to Portland for Mo Harkless and Meyers Leonard, league sources tell ESPN.- Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
Whiteside, whose contract is up following the 2019-20 season, appeared in 72 games (53 starts) with the Heat last season, averaging 12.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in just over 23 minutes per game. He stands to fill in at centre for Jusuf Nurkic, who is out for an indefinite period of time after suffering a fractured leg in late March.
Miami, who is paving the way for the potential free-agent acquisition of Jimmy Butler, has gained two impactful players in Harkless and Leonard. In the 2018-19 season, Harkless averaged 7.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while starting in 53 of the 60 games he appeared in. Leonard played sparingly throughout the regular season but made his presence felt in the postseason, most notably in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals when he finished with 30 points (on 12-for-16 shooting) and 12 rebounds after scoring 25 points in the first half.
Portland is clearly looking to establish itself as a power in the Western Conference while Miami moves closer to shaping a team around its reported free agent acquisition.