The Indiana Pacers are struggling through one of the worst slumps in NBA history, and things aren’t looking like they’ll change for the better anytime soon. One of the main issues has been the poor play of Roy Hibbert, and there are many Pacers’ fans that are wanting the big man to be traded this coming offseason. Larry Bird certainly hasn’t been happy with the production from Hibbert, but is it bad enough that the “Legend” himself could look to move Hibbert?
Hibbert was perhaps the most undeserving All-Star that we have seen in NBA history. While he was certainly a good defender in the early parts of the regular season, he wasn’t the best in the league. His offensive game was not that good either, and his all-around statistics simply didn’t add up to an All-Star selection.
The Pacers were hoping that Hibbert could take the next step in his career, and become the consistent franchise center that they believed him to be. Unfortunately for Indiana, things didn’t come close to taking that step as he continued to struggle with his offensive game immediately out of the gate. Despite the lack of offense, the Pacers were still very happy to play Hibbert big minutes because of his ability to defend the rim and grab rebounds here and there.
In 81 games this season, Hibbert averaged just 10.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Obviously the defensive numbers still look good, but the second half of the season was not one of Hibbert’s finest moments on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, he only scored in double digits two times in the month of April, and has consistently looked worse each and every game.
So the question of whether or not Bird could look to trade him becomes very confusing. The Pacers could look to deal Hibbert, but it would be difficult to find a trade partner that would be willing to take on a damaged player making max money. Even if Indiana was able to find a suitor, they likely would not be getting offered an incredibly sweet deal.
Indiana’s window for winning a championship is closing fairly fast, and they could be a completely new look team next year. Lance Stephenson has the chance to test free agency, and the Pacers are undecided on whether or not to keep Luis Scola and Evan Turner as well. Do the Pacers want to make a statement and shake things up in a big way by trading away a player who many were expecting to be their cornerstone?
It’s very difficult decision for Bird to make, but he has been known to make these types of moves before. The chances are very high that Bird will indeed look to shop Hibbert around to the league in attempts to find out what type of trade value he has. If the Pacers can get an offer that would bring in another quality big man as well as another piece or two, the Pacers likely would be more than willing to ship the inconsistent Hibbert out of town.
Overall, this is going to be a very interesting offseason for the Pacers if they don’t get the ship righted soon. There is no doubt that Indiana has a roster that should compete for a championship, but they struggled to get out of the first round against a much less talented Atlanta Hawks team. If the Pacers want to keep their roster relatively intact this offseason and Hibbert in town, they need to kick things into gear and begin taking care of business again like they did at the beginning of the season.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.