The Indiana Pacers have gotten off to a slow start during NBA Free Agency, but are looking to make waves after putting center Roy Hibbert and his two-year, $30 million contract on the trading block.
According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Pacers are “quietly” shopping Hibbert as they attempt to create some cap space.
The potential Hibbert trade rumors began during the playoffs, when the All Star big men suddenly became a sore thumb in the Pacers’ starting lineup. He consistently failed to clean the boards like Indiana had gotten used to, and wasn’t any better on the offensive end of the court. It was easily one of the biggest individual meltdowns in NBA history.
While Hibbert did bounce back later on in the postseason and appeared to be earning his big salary, the Pacers might not be willing to deal with his major inconsistency. Getting another team to take on the remaining two years and $30 million from his contract, though, might be too tall of a task.
Deveney doesn’t mention any potential suitors for Hibbert, but speculates that the Pacers could be looking to open cap space to either sign a big-name free agent (unlikely) or give Lance Stephenson more money after he reportedly turned down a five-year, $44 million offer from Indiana.
The Pacers also agreed to a deal with forward/center Lavoy Allen shortly after free agency opened, which could be a preemptive move to prepare for Hibbert’s departure. Either way, the team appears open to parting ways with the big man if the right offer is tabled.
Despite his poor playoff performance, Hibbert is still a top-tier center who could make a huge impact on a number of teams. His value is still fairly high, so seeing what other teams have to offer is a wise decision for the Pacers. If they manage to find a trade partner, the Pacers get good value in return while clearing some cap space and ridding themselves of Hibbert’s inconsistency.
Don’t be surprised if nothing comes to fruition, but the potential is there if a team is desperate enough to add an impact big man.