2019: Trading for Hassan Whiteside
In the 2019 offseason, the Blazers moved to acquire center Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat via trade. Whiteside had tantalizing talent, leading the league in blocks and rebounds a few seasons prior, but he had worn out his welcome in Miami with bad attitudes and habits.
Still, Portland hoped pairing him with Lillard would get his career back on track.
That proved to be wishful thinking, as Whiteside put up empty stats during his lone season in Portland while providing little else. Despite averaging 16 points and 14 rebounds per game, Whiteside wasn’t a great fit and was a negative presence for the Blazers. He provided inadequate rim protection and little passing or playmaking out of the post.
Off the court, Whiteside sulked over his playing time, took veiled shots at coaches and teammates, and set a terrible example for young players. He was traded after one year to Sacramento, leaving the Blazers in need of a quality center again.
In hindsight, trading for Whiteside was a poor move reeking of desperation to put talent alongside Lillard. Paying him $27 million to put up meaningless numbers on a bad team was a waste. The Blazers would be better off in a do-over, keeping the draft capital it cost to get him or waiting to sign a traditional center in free agency.
Acquiring Whiteside is a recent example of Portland’s failed attempts to quickly plug holes when patience and player development would have been wiser.