Despite keeping themselves very busy when it comes to player transactions this offseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers might not be done just yet, possibly trying to acquire Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers via trade.
Evan Massey is reporting that there is some truth to the rumors, although how, who and why is still quite up in the air.
Hibbert looked like the best defensive center in the NBA for about half a season before declining along with his team (chicken & egg scenario?) and being mocked at the deeper we went into the playoffs, with plenty of 0 points and 0 rebounds games, getting benched way before the fourth quarter, not seeing the court again.
Is Hibbert even on the table? The Indiana Pacers were on the right kind of trajectory for four seasons. But last year seemed to be the peak and the beginning of a fall. Lance Stephenson left in the summer, Paul George is out for the season. Hibbert no longer looks like a foundation to build around defensively, while he’s making $14.8 million next season and $15.5 million in 2015-2016, a season he has a player option on. It’s hard to say right now if he’ll exercise it – not when his stock is in an all-time low.
Maybe the smart thing for the Pacers to do is break up this team and build a new, waiting for Paul George to come back. What do the Cavaliers have to offer? Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett have already been traded this season in order to make room for Kevin Love. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are off the table. Who then?
In order to make it a trade that works under the cap, it seems that Anderson Varejao will have to be included. He’s on an expiring deal worth $9.7 million, and if the Pacers are tanking this season, that’s not a bad idea at all. Who comes with him? Either Tristan Thompson, on an expiring deal worth $5.1 million and is a player probably every team in the NBA would love to have, or Dion Waiters, making just over $4 million. He’s a better player than Stuckey.
Waiters has had his problems in Cleveland, but the Cavs don’t have a backup if they give up on him. Giving up on Varejao and Thompson is a risk, but they get a center back and they have Kevin Love to play power forward, not to mention the addition of Shawn Marion.
In short – I can see why the Pacers would go for it, especially if they’ve given up on getting something out of this core group, but it makes a bit less sense for the Cavaliers considering how big of a risk Hibbert has turned into.