Free agent center Hassan Whiteside is leaving Portland Trail Blazers after one year with the team. The big man is signing a one-year contract with the Sacramento Kings, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and will look to assert himself as one of the better rim protectors in the NBA with a new team.
Portland acquired Whiteside from the Miami Heat last offseason to use him as a temporary Jusuf Nurkic replacement and he thrived during his time as a starter. He was an expensive rental in the final season of a four-year, $98 million deal but averaged 15.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game while leading the NBA with 196 blocks during the regular season. The Kings could really use the skill set of this double-double machine.
Whiteside was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft by the Kings. He didn’t last in Sacramento though, bolting the NBA for Lebanon and China before making his return. Whiteside was signed by the Heat and turned into one of the premier paint defenders in the League, averaging 2.4 blocks per game in five seasons with Miami. He was dealt to the Blazers and signed that massive deal. Things didn’t totally work out in Portland, however, so Whiteside is landing back where it started.
The Kings needed to bring in a veteran center with little depth on the roster. Alex Len left via free agency for the Raptors and Richaun Holmes is more of a PF than a true 5. So with Holmes and Marvin Bagley III holding down forward, Whiteside has a clear path to playing time at center on a rebuilding SacTown squad. If Whiteside can stay healthy, there’s no reason why he can average a double-double again while being in the top of the NBA in terms of blocks. He’ll retain some fantasy basketball value, if nothing else as a blocks specialist on a weak Kings team.