Dwight Howard to the Miami Heat — the latest from the man who predicted (with 90-percent confidence) LeBron James would leave Miami for a Cleveland Cavaliers reunion a summer ago.
Former ESPN-er Chris Sheridan, who runs his own operation at Sheridan Hoops, predicts Howard is heading to Miami in a swap involving Hassan Whiteside. Via Sheridan Hoops:
Dwight Howard is extremely unhappy in Houston playing second fiddle to alpha dog James Harden, multiple league sources tell SheridanHoops.com. And with the Rockets underachieving more than any NBA team, look for them to try to move Howard later this season.
And the destination that makes the most sense is Miami in a trade centered around Hassan Whiteside.
It makes so much sense, in fact, that I will go so far as to predict that Howard will be wearing a Miami Heat uniform by the end of February.
Sheridan lists the two below trade scenarios as possibilities, which for lack of better phrasing are both BATSHIT CRAZY.
He clearly hasn’t watched many Heat games this season or else he’d realize Winslow has a tremendous ceiling and is already the team’s best perimeter defender — all at age 19. He’s also cheap, in Year 1 of a deal that heavily works in Miami’s favor, via Spotrac:
Affordable team options in Year 3 and Year 4 with Winslow potentially becoming a restricted free agent in the summer of 2019. Remember, Miami declined to trade Winslow for THREE first-round picks during the draft, and this was before they saw him play a minute of an NBA game.
I wouldn’t trade Justise for Dwight straight up, let alone for a combination of Whiteside, Winslow and Deng or McRoberts.
Sheridan’s site is also reporting Miami has “significant interest” in Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, a former teammate of Whiteside in Sacramento with the two getting drafted together back in 2010.
This prediction is based upon the fact that the Heat, as colleague Michael Scotto is reporting today, are trying to get the Sacramento Kings to part with DeMarcus Cousins, offering a package of Whiteside, rookie Justise Winslow and cap filler to make the salaries match. Chicago and Boston also are actively making offers for Cousins.
Sheridan doesn’t think the Kings are ready to move Cousins and thus thinks Pat Riley is going to unload Whiteside for “the best available center he can find.”
He’s at least half-right. I also think it’s doubtful Cousins gets moved.
Howard to Miami makes no sense. Why would Riley deal a player who’s similar in size and skill to a younger Dwight Howard for a crustier, depreciated version that’s earning 22 times the salary? Now the Cousins interest has Riley stamped all over it. He’s all about acquiring talented big men in their prime who have soured with their current teams. Think Alonzo Mourning and Shaquille O’Neal. Cousins is among the most talented — and troubled — bigs in the league.
There are many hurdles, however, for either deal.
Whiteside is set to become a free agent (without Bird rights, thus giving his current team no advantage for his next contract offer) and is earning just under $1 million. It’s far less than Cousins ($15.9M) and Howard ($22.4M) are earning this season. So not only would the team acquiring Whiteside not have any assurances he’d be signing with them long-term and the inability to offer him more money than anyone else but the matching of salaries in a trade would make any potential deal complicated.
Then there’s the question of whether the Kings are even willing to part with Cousins. So in true Sheridian style, I’m going to predict with 90-percent confidence that neither Howard nor Cousins ends up in a Heat jersey via a trade including Whiteside.