Potential Landing Spots and Trade Packages for Indiana Pacers Center Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert's struggles throughout the latter half of the 2013-14 campaign have been well-chronicled.
As a result of those struggles, his career may now be at a turning point.
The Sporting News' Sean Deveney reports:
After a flurry of rumors dating back a little more than a month, there has not been much to speak of when it comes to the possibility of Indiana moving center Roy Hibbert in a trade. But, according to multiple front-office sources, the Pacers have quietly sought out possible new landing spots for their enigmatic big man.
Per Deveney, "one front-office source" suggested, "I would say they’ve been doing that, but quietly."
So much for keeping things quiet. In this business, it seems it's only a matter of time before most secrets come to the fore.
He may be wise to adopt a similar philosophy as rumors begin to swirl.
Assuming there are merits to this particular source's sense of things, one can't help but imagine what life would be like for Hibbert in a different uniform. Though it might cost him the opportunity he's had to contend immediately, a change of scenery may in fact do some good things for his career.
Hibbert has two years and over $30 million remaining on his contract, narrowing his potential destinations to teams that could either match his salary or absorb it under the cap.
Here's a look at five such sensible options.
Celtics receive Roy Hibbert, first-round pick
Pacers receive Marcus Smart, Kelly Olynyk
(Boston could also build a package around the higher-paid Jeff Green, but it should be far enough under the cap to absorb Hibbert's salary without fully matching it.)
Why It Makes Sense
You could certainly play around with a few different packages here. The Celtics have a large trade exception from the Paul Pierce trade, and they have a number of draft assets.
If Boston wants to accelerate its rebuild, someone like Hibbert could help from day one. The team could use an established veteran center, and the 27-year-old Hibbert would qualify. He'd give the C's a steady scoring option from the post and a big rim-protector—two things the club really doesn't have at the moment.
Meanwhile, Indiana could use point-guard help from Smart, who could eventually replace George Hill as the full-time starter. The Oklahoma State product would add some potent scoring and playmaking to Indiana's backcourt.
And he's someone with whom Boston could afford to part with in the event the team can keep Rajon Rondo around. The pursuit of someone like Hibbert just might help convince Rondo that the Celtics are trying in earnest to win now.
Olynyk would give Indiana an immediate replacement for Hibbert. He can stretch the floor and could develop a better post game with more time to develop.
Much as we've become accustomed to thinking of the Pacers as a veteran team looking to win right away, it's worth remembering that Paul George is still just 24. The idea of surrounding him with young talent that could pay off down the road is pretty compelling.
Portland Trail Blazers
Trail Blazers receive Roy Hibbert, first-round draft pick
Pacers receive Wesley Matthews, Thomas Robinson, Meyers Leonard
Why It Makes Sense
First, a caveat is in order courtesy of Sporting News' Sean Deveney (who broke the original report on Hibbert's availability):
Portland originally gave Hibbert his max offer, and the Blazers have been intermittently linked to Hibbert. But the Blazers are focused on keeping star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge with a contract extension and making smaller tweaks to their bench. A source labeled a Portland deal, 'unlikely.'
Unlikely, but not impossible.
The big hangup for Portland might be parting ways with shooting guard Wesley Matthews, a key cog in last season's playoff run.
Nevertheless, if the Trail Blazers are intent on improving their interior presence, they'll have to part with something.
This would be a great deal for the Pacers from almost any angle, though. In Matthews, they'd receive a scorer on the wing who makes more than his fair share of three-pointers. If negotiations with Lance Stephenson break down, acquiring someone like Matthews would become all the more urgent.
Robinson and Leonard would give Indiana two young pieces to help rebuild the front line. It's unclear whether Leonard is ready for a full-time starting job, but he seems to have the upside to grow into the role soon enough.
Jazz receive Roy Hibbert
Pacers receive Enes Kanter, protected first-round pick
Why It Makes Sense
Enes Kanter still has potential, and he's already proven to be better than your average big-man prospect. If Utah is ready to escape the bottom of the standings, acquiring a proven commodity like Hibbert would help immensely.
The Pacers would get a young center who just might benefit from the expectations associated with playing for a winning ball club. Kanter averaged a fairly impressive 12.3 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. He's not an elite rim-protector, but his post game is good enough to earn him minutes.
The other nifty aspect of a deal like this is that Utah has enough cap space to absorb Hibbert's salary without matching it.
That means Indiana would actually free some money up in this scenario, and that could be the biggest perk of all—potentially even aiding in its bid to re-sign guard Lance Stephenson.
There are certainly considerations that could weigh against this trade happening. The Jazz might be unwilling to part with Kanter just yet given that he's just 22 years old and very likely to continue improving.
Bucks receive Roy Hibbert, Luis Scola, first-round pick
Pacers receive O.J. Mayo, Larry Sanders
Why It Makes Sense
O.J. Mayo isn't working out in Milwaukee, but it's hard to argue his best days are already behind him. Recent history suggests that Mayo is a much better performer when he starts (e.g. in Dallas) than when he comes off the bench.
Earlier this July, Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy reported:
Executives from multiple teams have been offered these players in trade talks and know that they could be had, according to league sources: O.J. Mayo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Tayshaun Prince of the Memphis Grizzlies, Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets and Austin Rivers of the New Orleans Pelicans.
If Indiana loses out on Stephenson, there are worse replacements than Mayo—especially if he returns to the form he displayed in 2012-13.
Larry Sanders is another guy who could use a new locale and some growing up. Indiana might fit that profile on both counts.
The Bucks could look to be aggressive this summer. With a young and improving core, this organization should in theory be pursuing a better mix of youth and veteran leadership. If Hibbert is ready to take on that kind of role, this could be the perfect fit for him.
Scola would be thrown in to make salaries match, but he'd also be a solid addition for Milwaukee's bench. If the Bucks want to shake things up in the name of getting a little more experienced, they can't afford to ignore the possibility of adding Hibbert.
Nuggets receive Roy Hibbert
Pacers receive JaVale McGee, Randy Foye, first-round pick
Why It Makes Sense
The Pacers would immediately get back a center who's ready to start, albeit one who's arguably just as enigmatic as Hibbert himself. Denver could find ways to sweeten the deal, though, potentially adding a shooter like Foye to the mix and/or throwing in a draft pick or two.
From the Nuggets' perspective, this deal would solve their need for a (more) reliable starting center, giving the team a post presence who could score in half-court situations. The Nuggets' acquisition of Arron Afflalo suggests they're looking for ways to get back into the playoffs.
Though they're one of many teams almost certainly pining for Kevin Love, Hibbert isn't a terrible Plan B.
Ultimately, this is one of those deals that banks on different locales benefiting two big men known for their uneven performances. McGee missed all but five games last season due to injury, but he's shown plenty of flashes of promise in his still-young career.
In his only season with more than 45 starts (2010-11), McGee averaged 10.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.4 blocks.