With the offseason all but over, the Silver Screen and Roll crew shoots off their preliminary verdicts on just how well the Los Angeles Lakers front office did in their summer maneuvers. This week, we grade the trade for former Indiana Pacers big man Roy Hibbert:
Before the Lakers traded for him, what did you feel would be a fair return for Roy Hibbert be?
Harrison Faigen: When the Lakers' were able to acquire Hibbert for the pittance of a future second-round pick, I was fairly surprised. Even with Larry Bird very publicly signaling his intentions to move on from the former All-Star center (and thus somewhat hurting his leverage in any deal), I still thought a player who held opponents to 41.4 percent shooting from the field (the best among seven-footers who started more than 20 games) would return a little more than a solitary second-rounder, even if he is in the last year of a contract that will pay him nearly $16 million this season. I thought the Pacers could get a player to help them this season or at least a couple of second-rounders for Hibbert.
The CDP: I have to admit, I am surprised at how cheaply the Lakers got Hibbert. Despite a terrible poker face from the Pacers and public proclamations that he was on the trading block, I figured that Hibbert was going to go for a mid-level player who is a fringe starter or even a first-rounder. For many teams, Hibbert would still have been an upgrade at the five, especially defensively. At the very least, I figured he was worth a few second-rounders.
Ben Rosales: I pretty firmly believed that the Pacers were going to get close to nothing for Hibbert. Heck, I thought that the Pacers were going to have to include slightly more than token assets in other to dump him. From the end of this past season onward, Larry Bird had done quite literally everything possible to nuke Hibbert's trade value, asserting that he didn't really have a place on the team he envisioned moving forward, encouraging Hibbert not to exercise his player option, and otherwise denigrating his play. You would think that this was rather counterproductive considering that there was little to no chance that Hibbert wasn't going to exercise his option in order to enjoy the benefits of the higher cap next season, but that's the strategy that Bird decided to go with. In this light, the notion that the Pacers would have to include a draft pick, the rights to someone like Joseph Young on the lower end and a heavily protected first on the higher end, seemed logical in this context. Sure, Hibbert has value even in a salary dump, as he still could be a defensive anchor, but Bird's negotiating position appeared incredibly weak, especially since he wanted to dump Hibbert outright without taking any salary back.
Jameson Miller: It's tough to say, as Hibbert isn't the kind of player that can just be plugged into any situation with his value remaining constant. While his typically top-notch rim protection -- a byproduct of his mastery of "that verticality crap" -- fell off a bit last season along with the Pacers' status as Eastern Conference contenders, there doesn't seem to be anything physically preventing him from continuing to be an elite defensive anchor going forward. That said, Larry Bird badly undermined Hibbert's trade value with his public proclamation of an impending paradigm shift in the Pacers' style of play and his not-so-subtle media barbs. I originally thought Roy would fetch maybe a couple of mid to high secound-round draft picks and a fringe rotation player, but with recency bias and Larry Legend's words infecting any negotiations, it became obvious that whatever trade Hibbert was eventually a part of would be fairly one-sided.
The Great Mambino: It's tough to say. While Hibbert is undoubtedly an All-Star and All-Defensive team-caliber talent, it feels like his prime was ages ago... when in fact it was merely the '13-14 season when the center was considered an indispensable player. The NBA is truly a copycat league and with center-less teams like the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors seeing so much recent success, the recent feeling is that a slow center that provides zero spacing doesn't have a place in the league any longer. That, combined with a relatively low-profile season on a low-profile non-playoff team (in the Eastern Conference, no less), it's no surprise that Hibbert's trade value was at an all-time low. Even so, I'm surprised that the former Hoya couldn't fetch even a highly-protected first-round pick or even a young player in return. A second-rounder seems like a pittance given how much of a difference he can make on the defensive end, mobility and offensive limitations aside.
Ryan Kelapire: This was a really odd situation. Though Hibbert was coming off a down year, he is still an elite rim-protector and former All-Star. It's easy to imagine that Hibbert had some value, but it seemed like the Pacers did everything they could to kill that value. The Pacers' front office said that they wanted to move to a faster style of pace and that Hibbert's playing time would be minimized. They also drafted his replacement in Myles Turner. By doing this, they made it clear that they Roy was no longer in their plans, thus lessening their leverage in a possible trade. I think if the Pacers didn't kill his value, Roy could have warranted a decent young prospect and/or a second-round pick or two to the right suitor. However, since his trade value was killed, I honestly thought the Pacers were either going to get close to nothing or even have to give up an asset to deal his massive contract away.
Sabreena Merchant: Much like David West, I was pretty appalled with the Pacers' handling of Roy Hibbert. Even if Indiana didn't think Hibbert fit into their vision for the future, the Pacers tanked his trade value with the nonsense Larry Bird spewed to the media. Nevertheless, I think Hibbert still possesses a lot of value as a rim-protecting center, and I thought the Pacers could have gotten themselves a return similar to what the Rockets got for Omer Asik last summer -- a late first-rounder.
What grade would you give Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak on this deal?
Harrison Faigen: I have been giving all of these deals pretty high marks, but I think Buss and Kupchak deserve an A+ for this deal, especially with the context of the team not only needing to use their cap space on someone, but being able to find an elite rim protector (arguably their greatest team need) after striking out on other bigger names, and only having to give up one second-rounder to do so. Hibbert does not make the Lakers a playoff team, but his acquisition will at least make a team with no other plus defenders a little closer to respectable on that end, which after the team was next to last in defensive efficiency last year, is all you can really ask for.
The CDP: This deal deserves an A, straight up. When the max free agents passed on their money, the Lakers needed to find a stopgap to both sop up minutes and the salary cap. In Hibbert, they managed to do both without giving up long-term assets. The Lakers gambled on an elite rim protector and two-time All-Star who is only 28. Despite all of the question marks about his recent play and mental collapse, Hibbert was the talk of the center position in the NBA just two short seasons ago. He is a professional, hard worker, and will help erase the mistakes of a young defense starting on Day 1. I doubt the Lakers are a playoff team in any world, but Hibbert is a low-risk acquisition that is capable of being a long-term asset if a change of scenery reinvigorates his game.
Ben Rosales: All that noted, the Lakers certainly didn't overpay for Hibbert, but neither did they take advantage of Indiana's situation to at the very least give up nothing of consequence in this deal. The 2019 second-rounder they surrendered to Indiana lacks any sort of protection, and while we would hope that the Lakers are good enough by that time as to render the pick a selection in the 50's, such an outcome certainly isn't assured. Even a layer of modest protections on the pick would have been preferable given Indiana's bargaining position. Now, the team could significantly mollify this hit by making Hibbert more than a rental and keeping him in LA for the foreseeable future next offseason; giving up the second-rounder for a defensive anchor who could stick around for roughly a half-decade sounds a whole lot better than coughing it up for a rental. If the latter is ultimately the case, the grade is a B+, as Hibbert will help out the development of Julius Randle next season by covering for a lot of his defensive mistakes and a similar rationale could apply to a lesser extent for D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson. For a Hibbert who signs an extension next offseason -- as Al Horford or Hassan Whiteside, the only clear upgrades available at center, would be pretty big long shots in free agency -- then this deal warrants an A, as good defensive centers are simply hard to find in this league.
Jameson Miller: Though Hibbert's ground-bound game and hangdog vibes don't make for all that sexy of a trade, when taken in context, you have to give Mitch and Jim an "A" here. They got a 28-year-old defensive anchor, productively used their cap space and opened up the possibility of keeping Hibbert for the next few years, all in exchange for one measly future second-round pick. Plenty of weird things can and will happen between now and draft day in 2019, it's just difficult to imagine the Lakers ruing the loss of their second-rounder being one of them.
The Great Mambino: In contrast to my last answer, this was an absolute slam dunk trade for the Lakers. As I've written before, if LA is hoping to attract marquee free agents in future summers, they need to start becoming less of an absolute joke. No free agent, no matter how bright the future may look, will join a rebuilding team without even a minuscule record of success. Hibbert will help the Lakers heavily on the defensive end, which is as big a hindrance to winning as they've had the past two seasons. He should help LA's youngsters develop and keep their confidence as he cleans up their mistakes on D, while providing some veteran consistency as his teammates no doubt scuffle. And if his decline continues in LA? He's gone after a year. For a second-round pick and almost no lost opportunity cost (who else were they going to go after?), this was an "A" trade.
Ryan Kelapire: The Lakers got an elite rim protector (and his bird rights) for a measly 2019 second-round pick. Whether you're a fan of Hibbert or not, you can't deny that the Lakers got good value here. Not to mention that Hibbert is exactly the type of player the Lakers needed -- a defensive anchor that may be able to erase enough mistakes to make the team actually respectable on that end.
For these reasons, I give Jim and Mitch an A for this deal. If Hibbert plays well and re-signs next summer, I give them an A+.
Sabreena Merchant: I give Mitch and Jim a slam dunk for this deal. The Lakers have accumulated a good chunk of young assets at this point, and it'll be nice to complement them with an All-Star caliber center (at least in the Eastern Conference) who fills the biggest hole on this team, apart from possibly a capable small forward. L.A.'s defense was disastrous last season, and it was headed that direction again before we acquired Hibbert. Granted, the Pacers were negotiating from a position of weakness, but the Lakers gave up less than I might have anticipated, and they got the deal done before Dallas could potentially sweep in after the DeAndre Jordan debacle. I'll like the deal even better if the Lakers manage to resign Hibbert for a reasonable deal next summer, but for now, this is about the best player L.A. could have hoped for at center.