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Utah Jazz sign center Hassan Whiteside

Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside
Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside at the Kings NBA basketball content day held in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.
Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press

The Utah Jazz have agreed to a deal with free agent center Hassan Whiteside.

First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the deal brings the 32-year-old Whiteside to the Jazz on a veteran minimum deal, league sources confirmed to the Deseret News, though the length of the contract was not made known.

The Jazz now seem to have things pretty well figured out at the center position. After they traded Derrick Favors, the Jazz still wanted to have a more veteran center to back up Rudy Gobert, and now they have that in Whiteside. Still developing behind the two is second-year player Udoka Azubuike, and when the team needs a small-ball-five they can turn to Rudy Gay, who also agreed to a deal with the Jazz on Tuesday.

The 7-foot-0, nine-year veteran played sparingly for the Sacramento Kings last season after a one-year stint with the Portland Trail Blazers. Whiteside lost out on his starting role with the Blazers once Jusuf Nurkic came back from injury and then in Sacramento youth was featured more prominently.

But Whiteside is most notably remembered for his five seasons spent with the Miami Heat from 2014 to 2019, where he averaged 14.1 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the Heat’s starting center and spent a lot of time next to former NBA star and now Jazz minority owner Dwyane Wade.

Whiteside has career averages of 13.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.

Though Whiteside’s days as a daily double-double machine are likely behind him, he is a still considered a completely capable reserve center and a good rim protector.

The move is a very low-risk, high-reward move for the Jazz. If Whiteside is OK with a backup role and can still play at the level he did while with Portland (or even better, his latter days in Miami) then the Jazz will be more than happy. If Whiteside doesn’t work out, it’s not like the Jazz had to invest a lot of money into trying him out.