Heat’s Meyers Leonard living in Hassan Whiteside’s home, but without fish custody

First things first: Meyers Leonard is not a fish murderer, nor is his wife Elle.

In fact, no fish — at least to Meyers’ knowledge — have been harmed in making of one of the most unique of NBA trades, one that came with trading spaces.


Confused? Well you certainly would be if you were to pull up to Hassan Whiteside's $7.3 million Miami Beach home and instead find Meyers Leonard.

Because Whiteside not only was traded by the Miami Heat in July to the Portland Trail Blazers for Leonard, but wound up leasing his home to the Leonards for the season.

Yes, the same home that was featured on an episode of Animal Planet's "Tanked" aquarium program, complete with 1,500-gallon saltwater tank with spinning Miami Heat logo. The same home that featured the koi fish that Whiteside regularly would chat up in his Instagram videos.

First the back story, as provided by Leonard in advance of Thursday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers:

"We were looking, my wife and I, at the rental market, really," he said, with this the final year on his contract. "And we couldn't decide. First of all, you never know what happens with the contract, short term. Now, all of a sudden, we feel like things can be long term.

"The point is we looked at condos. It's not normally our thing. We have a dog. We enjoy our own space. So we contemplated that, but then my wife looked at a few places. So she looked at about four or five homes, and we had a couple we had our eye on. And to be honest, we almost pulled the trigger on two of them, but both times they were dragging their feet and there were all these different addendums they were trying to put into the contract. It just didn't make sense."

At the same time, Whiteside suddenly had a home that was going to be vacant over the course of the season, as he played out the final season on his contract on the opposite side of the country.

“So,” Leonard said, "we somehow connected with one of Hassan’s good buddies. And they also thought, to my understanding, Hassan really likes his house, he likes to keep good care of it, and they thought, ‘Well, Meyers and Elle are pretty easy-going people and they could take good care of the house, pay the rent.’

"And also, for us, it made sense because I train in LA in the offseason. Most people say, 'I've got to have a 12-month lease.' So we got the nine months, and it was perfect for us, because now we're not eating three months of rent."

Alas, the home came without all of the previous tenants, the five-ton fish tank empty and Whiteside's beloved koi shipped to Oregon.

"There's actually not fish in it," Leonard said of the oversized tank that at one point had 50 inhabitants, including six Heniochus Butterflyfish, simply because Whiteside thought they resembled referees. "But it's pretty cool. I mean, why not? I guess it was a unique piece of the house."

Similarly, the koi pond remains, sans koi.

“He actually since has shipped every one of them to Portland. Every one of them,” Leonard said. “No fish now.”

Although their games contrast significantly, Leonard known for his outside shooting and passing, Whiteside for his shot blocking and rebounding, the aesthetics mesh.


"I think he did a good job with the house," Leonard said. "I think it's well done. We do like the modern-esque items and furniture and stuff, his color touch of the wall and cabinets and such. He did a good job of it."

But, in the end, rent is being paid, because the housing element of the deal was not an even exchange, even with the Leonards suggesting a swap.

“He looked at it,” Leonard said of his Portland home, “but it was a little too far out for him, which I understand.”

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