[brid autoplay=”true” video=”838481″ player=”23231″ title=”5%20ideal%20Kawhi%20Leonard%20landing%20spots%20during%20NBA%20free%20agency” duration=”121″ description=”Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is set to hit free agency after declining his player option for the 2021-22 season.While rumors have persisted that Leonard will re-sign with Los Angeles, that no longer seems to be a foregone conclusion. The backdrop here being the torn ACL he suffered in this year’s NBA Playoffs and the unlikelihood that Leonard will suit up at any point during the 2021-22 campaign.” uploaddate=”2021-08-02″ thumbnailurl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/snapshot/838481.png” contentUrl=”//cdn.brid.tv/live/partners/17660/sd/838481.mp4″]
The Utah Jazz are not normally active on the NBA free-agent front. Coming off a 2020-21 regular season in which they finished with the best record in the Association, only to lose in the conference semifinals, the Jazz have changed that up a bit.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Utah’s next order of business was to bring in a backup center for Rudy Gobert. The Jazz have apparently signed veteran Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside, 32, was once among the best defensive players in the NBA during his time with the Miami Heat from 2014-19. In fact, he’s led the NBA in blocks twice and earned All-Defensive Team honors back in 2015-16.
This seems to be a pretty big get for the Utah Jazz. Even in a diminished capacity with the Sacramento Kings last season, Whiteside averaged 8.1 points and 6.0 rebounds in 15.2 minutes of action. Back in 2019-20 with the Portland Trail Blazers, he averaged 15.5 points and 13.5 rebounds to go with a league-high 2.9 blocks per outing.
There’s an expectation within the Utah Jazz that their depth will take a hit next season. The likes of Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanović are said to be on the trade block. At the very least, Utah has not remained inactive during free agency.