When the Los Angeles Lakers traded a measly second-round pick to the Indiana Pacers for Roy Hibbert last summer, it was believed that they had added a much-needed rim protector that would help shore up their porous defense. A two-time All Star, Hibbert had worn out his welcome in Indiana and appeared to be a textbook case of a player who simply needed a new environment in order to re-ignite his fire.
Furthermore, at just 28 years old at the time of the deal, there was some hope that Hibbert could be part of their core moving forward. Now, halfway through the 2015-2016 season and with the Lakers struggling, it appears as though they may be willing to part ways with their 7’2″ center.
According to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, the Lakers are trying to find him a playoff team with the February trade deadline approaching:
Roy Hibbert waived some of his trade kicker to land in LA… I was told Lakers trying to find him a playoff team. https://t.co/f0ulO2TqJB
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) January 18, 2016
However, it’s unclear whether there will be many franchises interested in the former Hoya. The Lakers currently have the worst defense in the league, and despite a solid start to the year, Hibbert has struggled recently, averaging just 5.1 rebounds and 5.1 points on 39 percent shooting in the month of January.
With the team limping along to the second-worst record in the league, it makes sense that general manager Mitch Kupchak would be looking to sell off veteran talent to playoff teams. Head coach Byron Scott has moved forward with plans to give more responsibilities to the young players, and if Los Angeles can get something of value for their proven veterans, that would be preferable to having them sit on the bench.
Fans should keep in mind that no trade is always more likely than a trade happening. Still, the Lakers will do their due diligence, and if something makes sense, we may see a veteran player like Hibbert shipped out prior to the trade deadline on February 18th.