The Portland Trail Blazers have traded forward Maurice Harkless and Center Meyers Leonard in a four team deal that will bring Miami Center Hassan Whiteside to Portland. The four team deal between the Trail Blazers, Heat, 76ers, and Clippers, will send  Jimmy Butler and Meyers Leonard to Miami, Josh Richardson to the 76ers, Hassan Whiteside to the Blazers, and Maurice Harkless to the Clippers.

Whiteside provides a starting center for Portland to take over while Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic mends from a broken leg. He is an immediate upgrade by far over Meyers Leonard whom the Blazers drafted with the 11th pick back in 2012, five picks after star Damian Lillard. Hampered by injuries and confidence problems, Leonard never became the player Portland hoped he would. Miami could be the second chance he needs.

Maurice Harkless was acquired from the Orlando Magic during the 2015 offseason for a future draft pick after Blazers star Player LaMarcus Aldridge left in free agency. Harkless averaged nearly 8 points and 4 rebounds in his five years with Portland. He couldn’t seem to stay healthy after knee surgery last summer. His consistency was also a big question.

Whiteside averaged 12 points and 11 rebounds in Miami last season in limited minutes. He has averaged a double double of 14 points and 12 rebounds in his five seasons with Miami. He is a double double machine and can help Portland, on both ends of the floor. He will be effective at the basket with put backs and lobs. On the other end expect him to be a presence on the boards and with blocks.

He will help to take some pressure off of Portland’s back court of Lillard and McCollum is exactly what the Blazers needed on the interim while Nurkic rests. He is on the last year of his contract and can be used in a trade at the deadline.


Image – Getty Images/Cameron Browne

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