It's unclear how aggressive they've been or whether they've actually spoken about Hibbert with other teams, but it's the strongest report yet indicating the Pacers' willingness to deal the former All-Star. Coming off a bizarre, inconsistent season that saw Hibbert spend much of the 2014 playoffs on the bench, it's not totally surprising Indiana is considering trades.
What could the Pacers actually get for Hibbert? It's hard to say, as he's owed more than $30 million for the next two seasons and doesn't exactly come without risk. But if Indiana is open for business, other teams will surely inquire.
Why it could happen
It's been a long time since we saw a player as talented as Hibbert go through what he did the past year. Coming off a spectacular 2013 postseason that signaled his emergence as one of the game's elite big men, he entered last season with expectations of leading Indiana to the promised land.
Instead, Hibbert wasn't even on the court for most of the Pacers' 2014 playoff run, and for good reason. He was a mess on the court, mentally as much as physically, and often appeared to be wishing he was pretty much anywhere else but the spotlight. It showed in his on-court production, which ranged from mediocre to abysmal.
So the Pacers have a ton of money tied up in this guy, but little idea of what to expect from him. It seemed to wear on his teammates at times, too, and the 2013-14 Pacers gave us some of the weirdest postgame press conferences of the year. Maybe management thinks that dealing Hibbert would lead to a little more stability for the team as a whole.
And the Pacers will certainly have options if they want trade Hibbert. As bad as he looked a few months ago, teams surely haven't forgotten how he was not too long ago.
Why it won't happen
Trading Hibbert wouldn't be that hard, but the Pacers' shortest path back to title contention likely involves the big man regaining his old form. Whatever the team might get back in a trade, it couldn't possibly replicate the production Hibbert brings on both ends when he's mentally and physically right.
And here's to guessing that the Pacers know this quite well. Indiana doesn't have much leverage in trade talks if the possibility of keeping Hibbert is off the table, anyway. So the team will definitely not throw him under the bus, and any shopping of Hibbert likely won't get beyond the "quiet" phase.
There's simply too much to lose by dealing Hibbert, even if the Pacers have essentially tabbed Paul George as their true franchise player. It's too important having a high-quality two-way big man, particularly one who's still right in the middle of his physical prime.
The Pacers just need Hibbert to have his head on straight, which is likely plans A and B.
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Likelihood it happens
There are reasons on both sides of the argument to trade Hibbert, but it's still hard to imagine the Pacers finding a deal to their liking. With so much money involved and the curious nature of his struggles last year, Hibbert is a trade chip full of risk, and other teams will factor that into their offers. More likely, Indiana moves on from entertaining Hibbert deals at some point this summer, and starts planning for another season with him in the middle. 2 out of 10.