Lakers Swing Trade For Roy Hibbert
The Los Angeles Lakers swung and missed on all of the marquee NBA free agents this summer. They took to the trade market to rectify that.
Per reports, the Lakers have made a deal with the Indiana Pacers that nets them center Roy Hibbert. Hibbert had grown disgruntled in Indiana and the Pacers were believed to be looking for a way to unload the star big man.
Specifics of the deal were not immediately made known, but the Lakers will naturally eat Hibbert’s $15+ million salary for the 2015-16 NBA season, while the Pacers will receive some cash considerations and some type of future draft pick compensation.
Hibbert tends to clog the lane and is a bit of a dark hole on offense, both due to his lack of passing ability and his inefficient, erratic offensive game. Hibbert isn’t all bad, but the Pacers were looking to move away from him and the Lakers ended up being their best avenue to do just that. With Hibbert gone, Indiana can focus on rookie big man Myles Turner getting quality minutes on the floor, while an up-tempo offense paced by Paul George and Monta Ellis will take over in Indiana.
While Hibbert was no longer a natural fit with the Pacers, he’s potentially a splashy get for a Lakers squad that has floundered and missed the playoffs in each of the past two seasons. With Jordan Hill almost certainly out the door as a free agent, L.A. was in desperate search for an upgrade down low, but wasn’t able to land anyone on the open market. That led them to a deal to get Hibbert, who can be a strong team defender and rim protector and is also capable of scoring in one-on-one situations.
Hibbert isn’t the ideal center for the Lakers when guys like DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol were available, but he’ll certainly do.
While Hibbert isn’t the guy the Lakers thought they’d be rolling with in the middle of the paint, he’s really not a bad player and at 28 still has plenty left in the tank. On the surface, Hibbert could help the Lakers tremendously on the defensive end due to his shot-blocking ability, while he also has the size and length to be a terror on the glass (although he’s actually disappointed in that department as a pro). Hibbert also can get into grooves around the basket on the offensive end, although with Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and rookie D’Angelo Russell carrying much of the scoring load, that probably won’t matter.
Ideally, Hibbert just knows his role and brings some much-needed toughness to L.A. in the form of individual and team defense, shot-blocking, screening and rebounding. If he can do that, he could be a massive addition to a rebuilding Lakers team that is slowly piecing together a suitable lineup.
Hibbert understandably projects as the immediate starter at center, as he helps complete an improved starting unit that at the moment includes Russell, Bryant, Ryan Kelly and Julius Randle. Russell could be a phenom at the point in year one, Randle has loads of potential and The Black Mamba can at worst still score the ball. The team would probably love to improve on Kelly at the three spot, but their current starting unit otherwise has a very solid Clarkson coming off the bench, along with Nick Young.
The Lakers are still several moves away from competing even for a playoff spot in 2015-16, but landing Hibbert is actually a fairly big move. Just as important, the Lakers getting Hibbert also means the rival Clippers don’t. It’s a start, but if the Lake Show is to return in any way this year, more moves should be on the way.
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