Following a rumor that surfaced with talk show host Tyler Spence, other sources have confirmed that the Cleveland Cavaliers could possibly be in the midst of making a deal for Indiana Pacers’ center Roy Hibbert.
BREAKING: Source confirms after Bogans trade, Pacers received call from Cavs. Cavs offering Haywood, Waiters, 1st rounder for Hibbert.
— Tyler Spence (@tspence26) September 28, 2014
— Evan Massey (@massey_evan) September 28, 2014
— Chris Sheridan (@sheridanhoops) September 28, 2014
Hibbert is set to begin his seventh season in the NBA, having averaged 11.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and just under two blocked shots per game. Last season, Hibbert virtually matched those numbers during the regular season, but was roundly criticized for his poor performance in Indiana’s 19 postseason contests.
That slide actually began shortly after Hibbert’s second All-Star game appearance in February. The Pacers roared out to a league-best 40-13 record, then went 16-13 the rest of the regular season. The team then nearly was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks, before eventually making it to the Eastern Conference finals, where they lost to LeBron James‘ former team, the Miami Heat.
Off that effort, rumors about the Pacers shopping Hibbert picked up speed. Paul George’s devastating injury was then seen as an impetus by the Pacers toward beginning a possible rebuilding plan, with Hibbert’s departure one option.
The fact that he’s also still owed $30 million is also seen as a reason for Indiana to move him. Hibbert signed a four-year deal for $58 million two years ago
Waiters was the fourth overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, while Haywood was acquired from Charlotte during the offseason. In the latter case, Haywood’s contract was seen as a bargaining chip to use in a trade such as this. Finally, the first round selection is seen as a throw-in, based on Cleveland’s expectation that they’ll play deep into the postseason over the next few years.
Getting Hibbert would go a long way toward solidifying the Cavaliers’ weakness at center. At present, veteran Anderson Varejao is the favorite to start in that role, but he has had injury problems the past few years, and also has performed best when coming off the bench.
As noted at the beginning of this article, this potential trade is far from being finalized and may actually never pan out. If it does, however, it could sharpen the Cavaliers’ focus toward what they hope will be a fight for the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.