Desperate to try and change their predicament since the anti-climatic ending to last season and the crushing off-season injury to their best player, the Indiana Pacers might actually try to trade Roy Hibbert, with the options of contacting the Detroit Pistons for Greg Monroe or the Phoenix Suns in hope of getting Goran Dragic.
Hibbert’s stock plummeted in the previous postseason. From maybe the best rim and paint protector in the league, the perception of his abilities have turned more or less into this. The series against the Heat, a team he always gives a bit more against, didn’t redeem his previous performances one bit.
Hibbert has two more seasons left on his deal: $14.8 million he’ll make this season and a player option for the 2015-2016 season (Which he is expected to decline) worth $15.5 million. He is a two-time All-Star mostly for his defensive performances, although when given the ball and the chance he has shown some soft touch around the rim, not to mention being very difficult to stop when going for an offensive rebound. However, there’s a different side to one of the biggest men in the NBA, sometimes seeming reluctant to put much of an effort on the floor, or some other explanations for his 0 rebound performances.
The Greg Monroe options sounds interesting on paper: Straight swap for two big men. Monroe brings offense, Hibbert defense. Monroe is expecting to make that kind of salary although the Pistons will probably offer him less and eventually, maybe the qualifying offer of just over $5 million will be the one that’s signed.
However, it’s not that simple. Via ESPN: A deal for Monroe is difficult if he signs a long-term contract as only half of his 2014-15 salary can be used to bring back players due to trade rules from the collective bargaining agreement.
So how about Dragic? Dragic had a great season in 2013-2014, almost leading the Suns to the playoffs. He averaged 20.3 points and 5.9 assists per game, propelling himself into a different status and level of appreciation. A straight swap won’t happen, and right now it’s hard to see anything the Pacers can package together to make the Suns agree, although Indiana are quite eager to upgrade their situation with George Hill at point guard.
The Pacers are the biggest losers of this off-season. Not just the Paul George injury, which has nothing to do with their general manager and ownership, but mostly losing Lance Stephenson in an off-season in which they couldn’t afford to do so because of how bad the market was for finding someone to replace him (eventually settled for Rodney Stuckey).