Miami Heat RTD: Hassan Whiteside, Trade Deadline Targets and ‘ETC’


Welcome to another Miami Heat Round Table Discussion. On today’s agenda, we’ll be debating who the most important player on the team is, play “Extend, Trade or Cut,” talk about our trade deadline wish list and summarize the Heat’s season in five words.

Feb 3, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) attempts a shot over Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons beat the Heat 108-91. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

1. At this point in the season, is Hassan Whiteside the Heat’s most important player?

Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg): Does he have the best plus/minus numbers and PER on the team? Yep. Has he changed the way the Heat play offense, defense and possibly their plans on rebuilding the team? Yep. Is he the most impressive player on the team showing us more and more every time he takes the court? You betcha. But I’m not ready to go as far as to say he’s the most important player. To me, that’s still Dwyane Wade. Without Wade, this team still struggles to win games even if Whiteside posts 20 points and 20 rebounds. D-Wade is the only guy on the team who can run the PnR with Whiteside consistently. He also gets guys like Chris Bosh and Luol Deng more involved and is essential to this team making any sort of playoff run.

David Ramil (@dramil13): That is a loaded question but, yes, he is. I gauge importance based on overall impact (winning or losing) and although I think Wade has earned that designation, he just hasn’t played enough. Moreover, it’s not as big a lead over Whiteside as you’d think, given how much the young center affects the team’s defense. A semi-productive two-guard could fit in for Wade and the team wouldn’t lose much…Whiteside’s rim protection, affecting shot selection, rebounding, and scoring make him an overall impact player for the Heat. Who’d a thunk it?

Allana Tachauer (@ChitownHeiress): Okay. While I truly love Hassan Whiteside (he is even now a part of my fantasy team), and he has without a doubt changed the course of the Miami Heat’s season, I have to consider the big picture. It is true that Whiteside, who was once considered the flavor of the week, has turned more into a best seller, giving the team consistent offensive and defensive numbers. And yes, it does seem that since his surge, the organization has started to gain back the confidence they lost after LeBron James dipped. But when looking at the whole story, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are still at the heart of it all; not only are they experienced leaders, but they both also happen to be extremely talented. And although Wade has been the face of the team from the get-go, since The Big Three came into town, Bosh too has become a Miami staple. So for now, I’m still riding with the veterans.

Chris Posada (@CPoTweetsStuff): Wow, we’re here, aren’t we? Life comes at you fast. No, the answer remains Dwyane Wade. While Whiteside has been a force of nature in the past few weeks, and especially dangerous on defense, he has needed someone to balance things out on offense. Wade’s history playing with Shaquille O’Neal, a center that needs the ball in certain spots to maximize his talents, comes into play here. The pick and roll between Wade and Whiteside can be deadly. The Heat’s offense has been in the toilet without someone that can distribute the ball without vomiting on himself, so Wade’s return will help them and Whiteside.

Dec 29, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat guard Norris Cole (L) reaches for a loose ball from Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo (R) as Miami Heat forward Danny Granger (C) defends during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

2. Let’s play Extend, Trade, Cut. Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, Danny Granger.

Goldberg: This is my game and now I hate myself. Gun to my head, I probably ask the prick to pull the trigger. But I’ll entertain the notion and play ETC. I’ll extend Mario Chalmers, cut Danny Granger and trade Norris Cole. I like having Chalmers on the team. He’s maddeningly inconsistent and has seemingly hit his head on his ceiling and is falling like he’s in a Mary Poppins movie. But dammit if he’s not fun to have on the team, at least as a scape goat. Trading Cole is an easy decision. He has more value, somehow, than the other two in a trade and maybe the Heat can get something for him. Let’s waive Granger because he’s clearly not what the Heat need him to be and he’s still got another year left on his contract.

Ramil: Gah. Is “Resign as General Manager” an option? OK. Extend Mario Chalmers, who – while inconsistent – is still much more productive than the other two and has a much higher ceiling at this point. Trade Norris Cole, whose expiring contract is his most valuable contribution to the team of late (sorry, Cole Train). And cut Danny Granger. With the exception of his wonderful month of December (which feels like ages ago), Grange simply can’t produce regularly. Coach Spoelstra is still committed to him but that’s team-wide preference for veterans over rookies at work. It’s a shame, too, as Granger has seemed like a good, solid leader in the locker room. He just doesn’t play well enough at this point in his career.

Tachauer: Wow, really? There are so many levels to this. I guess let me get the easy part out of the way: cut Danny Granger. He is not (and honestly, was never) what the Heat need, and his trade value would definitely not come close to Norris Cole’s or Mario Chalmers’. Now, on the one hand, I still believe that Cole has a lot to prove, and is merely taking more time than the others to adjust to the revamped team. So part of me wants to extend him, and trade Chalmers. But on the other hand, how much longer can I really give Cole? Chalmers, inconsistency aside, shows up every single game. Plus the comedic relief he adds is priceless. Ugh. Ask me again later.

Posada: Do I have to use all three? Because I wouldn’t extend any of them. But if I have to, the answer to the first two is Norris Cole, while Danny Granger would need to be cut. While extending Cole is something Heat fans would loathe at this point, he would come cheap; zero chance anyone is giving him more than $3 million per year, even in a market where point guards are getting paid handsomely. Might as well fork over another couple of years while Miami figures out what they have with Shabazz Napier. He also happens to be their only trade chip, as he is an expiring contract and couple prove useful to a contender looking for backup point guards (looking at you, Doc Rivers). As for Granger, he’s got a player option for next season – which he’ll most certainly accept – so cutting bait won’t hurt the Heat that much.

Jan 25, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Mo Williams (25) dribbles the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in the first quarter at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

3. Which player do you want the Heat to target at the trade deadline

Goldberg: The Denver Nuggets could decide to blow it up before the trade deadline, and Arron Afflalo has been a rumored target for a while. However, if the Nuggets make everyone available, I’m hoping the Heat put some calls in for Ty Lawson before settling on Afflalo. Lawson is averaging 16.5 points and 10 assists per game, he’s super fast and has playoff experience. Signing him would solve Miami’s point guard problem and give the Heat some athleticism to juice up the offense.

Ramil: I’ve said it before, but I think Arron Afflalo gives the Heat something they haven’t had this season; a solid, productive player in the backcourt that can defend and score. He’d be a quality backup for Wade, wouldn’t be a financial commitment beyond next season and gives us a legitimately deep bench, not to mention an occasional starter if Wade should miss games.

Tachauer: MO WILLIAMS. Can you tell how excited this prospect makes me? I have a Williams (Cleveland Cavaliers) jersey in my dresser as we speak, ready to be thrown on and photographed for Instagram. I know he is on the older side, and has fallen off since his days in Cleveland but the guy is good. Currently averaging 12.4 points and 6.4 assists, he could definitely help the Heat out offensively. And his 2.4 rebounds per game would not hurt either. Not to mention he sort of looks like John Legend. “Give me the green light…”

Posada: Logistically, the Heat won’t be able to do a whole lot with the assets they currently have. Cole? Napier? James Ennis? Team aren’t picking up the phone for those guys. While Mo Williams has been talked about, even the Wolves are going to want a first round pick, something Miami doesn’t have. I read yesterday that Reggie Jackson would be someone the Heat should target. How fast is Thunder GM Sam Priske hanging up the phone if Pat Riley calls asking for him with the Heat’s poo-poo platter? .02 Seconds? Well, if Riley is calling Oklahoma City it should be for Jeremy Lamb, who has fallen further and further down the bench. Heat could use a shooter off the bench His 36% shooting from three would actually be third best on the Heat, for qualifying players. Who’s saying no to Cole/Chris Andersen for Lamb/Kendrick Perkins? Cole is insurance for the Thunder possibly losing Jackson, while Andersen gives them a big bench. Perkins is just money in the transaction, whose contract expires at seasons end. That’s the call I’m making.

4. In five words, summarize the Heat’s season.

Goldberg: Wade and Whiteside Over Everything

Ramil: Injuries suck, Whiteside’ll save us.

Tachauer: The struggle has been real.

Posada: Kill this season with fire.

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