A number of potential big men have been mentioned as potential free agents this summer with players like Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love and Greg Monroe garnering the most interest. One player who hasn’t been talked about much is Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
Hibbert has a player option for over $15 million, but Pacers President Larry Bird says they would like to play smaller and faster which could significantly change Hibbert’s role according to Candace Buckner and Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star:
If (Hibbert) comes back we’re probably going to play another style and I can’t guarantee him anything,” Bird said. “He’s going to have to earn it.”
Pacers head coach Frank Vogel also mentioned that Hibbert’s role could be diminished if the team does try to play faster next season via Buckner:
"…but there’s a possibility that Roy’s role will be diminished, if we’re trying to play faster and trying to play smaller." — Vogel
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 17, 2015
The slow, 7’2 Hibbert would surely not fit in any sort of run-and-gun style and if the Pacers do want to pick up the tempo, Hibbert wouldn’t be the best option in the middle. It does seem odd that both the coach and president spoke openly about Hibbert’s role possibly being lessened which some could argue is the team trying to goad him into opting-out.
If he does indeed decide to leave Indiana, there will be no shortage of suitors for Hibbert, who remains one of the NBA’s best rim protectors. The Lakers could definitely use someone like him on the back end of their defense as opponents shot only 42.6 percent at the rim when he was there, a much lower percentage than the likes of Marc Gasol (49.4), Tim Duncan (46.9), Andre Drummond (48.0), and DeAndre Jordan (48.5).