The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly nearing a trade for veteran big man Roy Hibbert with the Indiana Pacers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
ESPN sources say that the Lakers and Pacers are actively discussing a trade where L.A. would take Roy Hibbert into salary-cap space
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2015
Since the negotiating period for free agents began this week, the Lakers have been unable to land any big name players. At one point or another, the Lakers were linked to names such as Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Deandre Jordan, Dwayne Wade and others. Most notably, the Lakers were interested in LaMarcus Aldridge but failed to impress the big man.
Additionally, the Lakers were reportedly discussing a trade for DeMarcus Cousins with the Sacramento Kings but those talks never advanced and a deal for the 24-year-old Cousins appears unlikely, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
As of now, Lakers haven’t revisited DeMarcus Cousins trade talks w/ Kings. And Kings aren’t looking to trade him.
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 4, 2015
That’s where Hibbert comes into the picture. Hibbert is both four years younger and the inferior player to Cousins as their career averages indicate. But with their current situation dire, Hibbert would represent an upgrade over any of the Lakers’ in-house options.
Last season, the Queens, New York, native posted totals of 10.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG as the center for the Pacers through 76 games. While he posted a career high from the charity stripe, shooting .824 percent from the free throw line, last season can be considered a down year for Hibbert. Hibbert had the choice of becoming a free agent this offseason but instead elected to opt in for the last year of his contract with the Pacers.
However, the Pacers have made it clear that they want to become a more athletic and versatile team next season and one move to demonstrate that was drafting Myles Turner as the team’s No. 11 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. With Turner in the fold, Hibbert becomes an expendable piece and the Lakers are looking for size and scoring potential.
The one obvious roadblock in putting this trade together is Hibbert’s salary for next season. Hibbert is set to make $15.5 million next season, a total the Lakers would have to fit into their salary cap space for next season.
According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com, a trade that will send Hibbert to Los Angeles is nearing completion and should become official within the next few days.
Source on Lakers-Hibbert trade first reported by @ESPNSteinLine “it’ll get done after the 9th”
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 4, 2015
Despite the obvious differences, a move for Hibbert appears eerily similar to when the Lakers acquired Carlos Boozer last year after striking out on several of their top targets in free agency. While Boozer was five-years Hibbert’s senior, he did post 11.8 PPG and 6.8 RPG last season but those totals were far below his career totals of 16.2 PPG and 9.6 RPG.
The Lakers will continue to attempt to improve the team before the 2015-2016 gets underway. But a Hibbert acquisition would not be a long-term commitment as he will be a free agent at the end of next season.
[Image by Andy Lyons/Getty Images]