The aftermath of Paul George’s potentially career ending injury is a nightmare in Indianapolis. Without George and without Lance Stephenson, a total overhaul and rebuild is required. The next Pacer to move on will likely be the athletic centerpiece of the club.
Sources say that the Indiana Pacers made an offer to the Phoenix Suns today that includes 7’2″ center, Roy Hibbert, and Chris Copeland. In return, the Pacers could receive Goran Dragic, a renowned 3-point specialist. Those close to the negotiation have suggested that the Suns have no real interest in acquiring the Pacers’ big man at this time. They’ve been enjoying relative success with the current formation of their frontcourt; the youthful trifecta of the Morris twins and Alex Len leaves little to be desired in an additional body to clog the paint.
Although Hibbert may not have piqued the interest of Suns’ management, the Pacific division is a probable landing spot for him. The Lakers could use a balanced big man on their squad, so could the Clippers. According to his personal twitter account, Hibbert recently spent time in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area doing things like visiting Alcatraz. It’s very possible that the man who was drafted one spot before him in 2008 may be on a recruiting mission for the Golden State Warriors. Marreese Speights, power forward for the Warriors, has often been a friendly rival to Hibbert since they arrived in the NBA. Perhaps, that rivalry could translate into a potent on-court chemistry. Harrison Barnes has had his name kicked around from GM to GM and club to club throughout the summer. New head coach of the Warriors, Steve Kerr has silently made Barnes available but has yet to find an offer that would benefit his squad. It’s very possible that we may see a trade sending Hibbert and Copeland to the Warriors in exchange for Barnes as we grow closer to September.
One thing is for certain; Hibbert is on his way out of Indiana. Taking a look at his contract, one can see that following the 2014 – 2015 season there will be a choice for the 7-footer to make. The player option offers Hibbert the opportunity to remain a Pacer for an additional year that would net him approximately $15 million. Yet with a new CBA on the horizon that has the potential to immensely raise the salary cap or remove it all together, most NBA players are reevaluating how much they feel that they’re worth. The difference between remaining a Pacer and leaving after two years or being traded now could amount to nearly $20 million in earnings for Hibbert in the next two years alone.
For now, the big man has one foot in the paint and one foot out the door. Stay tuned as the saga continues.