May 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
Roy Hibbert struggled mightily for the Pacers over the second half of the season, a decline in performance that saw him go scoreless four times during his team’s run to the Eastern Conference Finals that ended at the hands of the Heat in six games.
Hibbert also wasn’t fully accepting of the personal responsibility tied to his on-court failures, calling out teammates as being selfish while complaining about a lack of touches more than once.
Given the way this season spiraled overall, and for Hibbert in particular, it’s easy to believe that the Pacers may consider trying to trade their big man and rebuild the roster by going in a different direction. That wouldn’t be easy given his contract, but if Indiana were to shop Hibbert, he reportedly would be open to the possibility.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
There is said to be some thought on both sides — management and Hibbert’s — that a fresh start would be beneficial for everyone after the big man’s second-half woes.
Hibbert’s camp hasn’t outright asked for a trade, sources say, but word is that it wouldn’t exactly oppose one if the Pacers decide to actively shop their center.
Forgetting the fact that it doesn’t matter what Hibbert thinks (because the Pacers don’t need his permission to trade him), there are other complications that make dealing him problematic, at least during the offseason.
Not only does Hibbert have two years and $30 million remaining on his current contract, but the second year is a player option — meaning he can opt out of his deal following next season to become an unrestricted free agent.
Teams don’t give up real assets in exchange for one-year rentals, especially for guys like Hibbert who just came off of a season playing so far below the value on that contract. Now, if he bounces back next year and Indiana still wants out, they may find more willing trade partners before the midseason deadline. But despite Hibbert’s openness to the idea, it would appear he’ll be returning to the Pacers next season.
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