Now might not be the best time for the Miami Heat to explore trade options for top center Hassan Whiteside. In his latest mailbag Q&A session, veteran NBA scribe Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald discussed how injuries and a decreased role under head coach Erik Spoelstra greatly affected Whiteside’s value on the trade market.

Jackson solicited opinions from a couple of NBA scouts and both believed Whiteside no longer commands the same trade haul [VIDEO] #The Heat could get if they dealt him last season. The scouts pointed out injuries, questionable character on and off the court, a significant drop-off in production and of course, the watered down value of traditional centers in today’s market as factors behind Whiteside’s floundering trade stock.

“You could get a lottery pick, but a late lottery pick,” one scout said. “I could see a first rounder and a decent player — a rotational guy — but not a lottery pick and a decent player. I would be shocked if you got an all-star for him. No way,” One of the scouts said.

After averaging a career-high 32 minutes per game last season, Whiteside’s playing time was cut down to 25 minutes per contest this season as Spoelstra preferred for more depth at the center spot. Kelly Olynyk (10.4 ppg on 50.3 FG percent and 43.4 3PT percent) and rookie big man Bam Adebayo (7.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg in 19 mpg) have been putting up solid numbers to warrant more time on the floor.

Although Whiteside has remained the team’s top rebounder (11.8 rpg) and rim protector (1.7 bpg), his output for the 2017-18 NBA season still doesn’t justify his large contract that pays him around $25MM annually. Jackson said he won’t be surprised if the Heat eventually part ways with the big man down the road, though they probably wait until Whiteside’s value shoots up again.

Julius Randle on the rise

Speaking of trade value, #Julius Randle’s inspired play as of late is steadily inflating his trade stock with roughly four weeks left in the trading window. Randle is averaging 14.1 points on 50 FG percent and 10.1 rebounds per game in the month of January. Luke Walton’s decision to bring the former Kentucky standout [VIDEO] back on the starting lineup has benefited the Lakers on the court (four straight wins) and on the trading floor.

Mavs have some competition

With Randle’s trade value at an all-time high, the Lakers now have more leverage in potential trade talks centered on the promising forward.

Many viewed the Dallas Mavericks as an ideal landing spot for Randle because they have someone that really piques the interest of the Lakers’ front-office. Nerlens Noel has been linked to the Lakers since last summer, and there were reports detailing the franchise’s desire to acquire the mobile defensive player in the offseason.

However, the Lakers’ Pacific Division rival, the Sacramento Kings, might also inquire about Randle’s availability at the deadline, as head coach Dave Joerger is a fan of Randle’s game. He really thinks Randle can thrive in today’s game with his versatility on defense and his bully-ball playing style on offense.

The Lakers are expected to be aggressive sellers around the trade deadline, looking for ways to clear enough cap space to fit two max-level free agents next summer. They could dangle one or a combination of Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and possibly Luol Deng to achieve that goal, though they could hold onto Randle if he continues to turn heads for the remainder of the season. #NBA Trade Rumors