The Los Angeles Lakers Should Stay Away from Hassan Whiteside at All Costs

Heading into free agency with more cap space than any other NBA team—and a clear desire to distance themselves from last year’s Kobe-centric sideshow—the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly plan to make a steep offer to Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside this summer, according to's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne:

The Los Angeles Lakers plan to aggressively pursue Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside when NBA free agency starts, according to league sources. With rim protection and perimeter shooting ranking as the Lakers' foremost areas of concern heading into the open market, sources told ESPN that Whiteside has emerged as a priority target.

On paper and in a vacuum, Whiteside makes sense in a Lakers jersey. But instead of splurging on a big-name free agent who may stunt his young core’s development, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak needs to show restraint.

Yes, Whiteside's in his prime at 27 years old and one of the best rim protectors in basketball. Last season, according to, he finished seventh in PER and win shares per 48 minutes, second in total rebound percentage and fourth in true shooting percentage. He's a possible antidote against teams that want to go small; When engaged, he can dominate.

As billboard-splashy and symbolically progressive as a Whiteside signing would be, an endless desert remains between the Lakers and a playoff spot—let alone championship contention—regardless of which free agents they acquire this summer. 

With D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and (presumably) Jordan Clarkson to serve as their foundation, the Lakers should make every decision with development as the primary goal. This isn't complicated.

Pay Whiteside upward of $95 million, and the entire concept of a meticulous rebuild goes out the window.

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