First round games in the ongoing NBA playoffs are in the latter days with a couple of series concluded a few hours ago.

In the East, Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia Sixers have completed half of the second round roster after progressing beyond the first round and wait for the winner of Cleveland Cavaliers-Indiana Pacers series and Milwaukee Bucks-Boston Celtics series respectively.

Neither DeAndre Jordan nor Hassan Whiteside made it past the first round; in the case of Jordan, his Los Angeles Clippers side failed to make the playoffs in the first place. Miami Heat made it to the postseason but got knocked out by Sixers in five games.

And neither Center gave off a happy posture about the manner their respective seasons panned out with Jordan losing frontcourt mate Blake Griffin to a shock trade. For an All NBA Team talent, missing the playoffs definitely wouldn’t please him either.

For Whiteside, his torrid time against Philadelphia where he scored in double digits just once in five games made him vent more than once to the media.

Prior to the playoffs, a similar situation happened convincing many to believe his days in Miami are pretty much over.

Jordan has dropped a major hint through the sale of his home in Malibu, California as he waits out the days before he can officially decline his player option with the Clippers and become a free agent.

A possible free agent Center and a Center who yearns to be a free agent sure does make for a big splash at the NBA’s least sought after position.

Jordan and Whiteside are far from the modern NBA Center-who scores within the paint and beyond the three point line- as they do most of their work close to or above the rim. They gobble a lot of rebounds and block a fair share of shots and both men need to move to make good use of their prime years. With little leverage in the draft and free agency, Jordan’s chances of winning an NBA title doesn’t fall in line with Clippers time frame.

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan tries to get control of the ball after his shot was blocked by Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, rear, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 9, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

After averaging 12 points and 15.2 rebounds this past regular season, the 6 foot 11 defender is only a season removed from an All Star appearance and All NBA Team Membership. His services albeit limited, are still in high demand across the league considering the long list of suitors including playoff contenders Cavaliers and Bucks. For Cleveland and Milwaukee, both teams need a strong rim protector to be able to really contend for titles going forward. Bucks John Henson is a steady defender but Jordan is an upgrade while Cavs sore need for a defensive big man forced the side to sign Kendrick Perkins.

DeAndre’s presence on the roster sure does compromise LeBron James’ driving lanes to the rim, it prevents Cleveland from bleeding points on the other end. James might not be around Cleveland next season as he heads into free agency; should he leave the Cavs for a second time, landing Jordan gives the team a good chance to contend in the Eastern Conference with Kevin Love who has two more years on his contract after this season. The Bucks need a player of Jordan’s ilk to pair with Giannis Antetokoumpo to easily be a conference finalist contender.

Whiteside could be partnering Lou Williams for Clippers

Staring at a possible gap in its starting unit’s middle, Clippers could swoop in for Whiteside in a trade as Hassan has two years and $48 million left on his contract. Few teams have cap space to take such a huge contract but Jordan is likely not to pick his $24 million option for next season.

That gives Clippers the green light to have Whiteside fill that spot on the salary sheet and the Heat need to move salary next season as Tyler Johnson’s contract balloons to $18 million next season and $19 million the following season. Clippers are most likely to move young players Sindarius Thornwell, Sam Dekker and Jawun Evans to Heat to facilitate the move while receiving a fringe Mimi player say Jordan Mickey in exchange.

Whiteside averaged 17 points and 14.1 rebounds in the first year of his four year, $98 million deal and recorded 14 points and 11.4 rebounds this past regular season as injuries and a shift to a small heavy switch unit affected his production. With free agency around the corner, a conference switch from either man is on the horizon.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter


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