Lakers close to landing Hibbert
The Lakers are finalizing details to acquire Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, a middle-tier option after the team struck out on a slew of big-name free agents this week.
Hibbert gives them a post player with legitimate NBA experience but he is coming off a poor season.
The Lakers will give up at least one future second-round pick and perhaps some players no longer on their roster who are playing overseas. They might also include cash to Indiana in the deal.
Hibbert, 28, is a good shot blocker but erratic scorer and below-average rebounder. His days in Indiana were numbered when team President Larry Bird all but guaranteed he would play a lesser role next season.
The Pacers were looking for takers almost from the moment Hibbert exercised a $15.5-million player option for next season.
“If he comes back, we’re probably going to play another style,” Bird told reporters in April. “And I can’t guarantee him anything. He’s going to have to earn it.”
Pacers Coach Frank Vogel didn’t mince words when asked if Hibbert would be benched if he came back next season.
“Yeah, potentially,” he said, adding that Indiana would rather play at a faster pace without the plodding 7-foot-2 center.
The addition of Hibbert, who has a trade kicker that increases his actual cap number to $17.8 million, leaves the Lakers with less than $5 million to spend on a dwindling free-agent market.
Hibbert has enjoyed some solid seasons, making the Eastern Conference All-Star team in 2012 and 2014. He had one of the more unique lines in recent years, compiling 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots for a triple-double against New Orleans in 2012.
He is not an accurate shooter away from the basket, making only 44.6 percent of his attempts last season, very low for a center, while averaging 10.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots.
Hibbert’s best season was probably 2011-12, when he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and two blocked shots. He shot 49.7 percent that season.
The Lakers struck out on a number of free agents and were forced to pursue Hibbert after All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge chose San Antonio, center Greg Monroe went to Milwaukee and center DeAndre Jordan chose Dallas.
Hibbert joins a threadbare Lakers frontcourt: Robert Sacre and Tarik Black are the Lakers’ only post players with legitimate NBA experience.
Rookie power forward Julius Randle will be returning from a broken leg sustained in the opener last season. Power forward Ryan Kelly will also be back, though his game is perimeter-oriented.
Hibbert will be in the last season of his contract and eligible for free agency in a year. USA Today Sports first reported the trade, which will be officially announced July 9.