One of the most widely held assumptions around the NBA in the weeks leading up to the deadline was that the Portland Trail Blazers had a big win-now move to make involving Hassan Whiteside’s $27.1 million expiring contract. With Jusuf Nurkic set to return soon from the broken leg suffered last March and Whiteside up for a new deal in July, keeping him past the deadline never made much sense.
However, as Thursday afternoon draws nearer, the chances of a Whiteside trade seem more and more remote. 
The market for him hasn’t materializeda giant expiring contract doesn’t hold the same appeal it normally would heading into a summer with few (if any) big names hitting free agency. If teams are trying to open up space, it’s for the 2021 offseason.
And the truth is, Whiteside is more valuable to the Blazers than anything they’d realistically be able to get back. Nurkic may be poised to return shortly after the All-Star break, but coming off an injury as serious as his, he can’t reasonably be expected to play more than 15 to 20 minutes per game off the bench this season.
Offseason concerns about Whiteside’s effort and the value of his flashy counting stats have, at times, been warranted this season. But during the Blazers’ recent hot streak, he’s been legitimately impactful at both ends of the floor.
Portland’s season looked to be on life support two weeks ago. Following Damian Lillard’s otherworldly stretch, the Blazers look poised to make a push back into the playoff picture.
Last month, general manager Neil Olshey made a cost-cutting move, sending Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel. What looked to be a trade to trim Portland’s luxury-tax bill has paid dividends on the court as Ariza has slotted seamlessly into the starting lineup and proved a significant upgrade over Bazemore. The Blazers have won five of their last seven games since that move.
With this group clicking and the market for Whiteside not what Olshey thought it would be, the smart money is on the Blazers being done dealing.