The Lakers’ chosen path of rebuilding, where they target the biggest names on the market and then lose out on all the lesser ones while they wait for a player who ultimately never comes to make his decision, hasn’t worked out as planned.
Their only recourse, then, is to try to add assets by trading for talent instead.
But while L.A. certainly has the cap space to absorb players on big-money deals, they lack anything of substance to offer for guys who are truly valued in their current situation. For that reason, the Lakers are looking at a reclamation project like Roy Hibbert by talking trade with the Pacers.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com:
ESPN sources say that the Lakers and Pacers are actively discussing a trade where L.A. would take Roy Hibbert into salary-cap space
After missing out on all of their free-agent targets, Lakers are talking trade with Pacers which would land them the former All-Star center
Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:
Hearing the Lakers-Pacers deal is done involving Roy Hibbert. Just a matter of the assets involved now.
You’ll recall that Pacers brass did everything they could to dissuade Hibbert from opting into the final year of his contract, one that is worth more than $15.5 million for next season. Head coach Frank Vogel intimated that Hibbert could be benched next year as his team looks to play faster, while team president Larry Bird’s quote on Hibbert’s contract decision amounted to “whatever he does, he does.”
Since there’s only one year remaining on Hibbert’s deal, this is worth the risk from the Lakers’ perspective. Best case scenario is that Hibbert provides rim protection alongside Julius Randle in the frontcourt, and helps a defense that finished last season ranked 29th out of 30 teams in efficiency.
If it doesn’t work out, the Lakers finish in the lottery once again, and can continue to rebuild through the draft. Given the way the team has chosen to conduct its rebuild, there aren’t a whole lot of other appealing options.