Update: Hibbert has agreed to a one-year deal worth $5 million with the Hornets, according to Wojnarowski. Original story follows.
Of the Los Angeles Lakers first four moves of free agency, two of them were to sign centers. In addition to re-signing Jordan Clarkson and signing Luol Deng, the front office moved quickly to bring former Cleveland Cavaliers center Timofey Mozgov in on a four-year, $64 million deal as well as re-signing backup center Tarik Black.
In case those moves didn’t make it clear that the exit of last year’s starter, Roy Hibbert, was imminent, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reports the seven-footer is (along with Zaza Pachulia) at the top of the Charlotte Hornets’ list of center candidates.
Hibbert had one of the worst years of his career in Los Angeles last season, averaging 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 23.2 minutes per game for the Lakers. A starting lineup with no other capable defenders proved to be a horrible fit for Hibbert, who posted the worst net rating on the team as the Lakers were outscored by a whopping 18.6 points per 100 possessions during his floor time.
However, Hibbert does deserve some credit for being a positive locker room presence, one who Anthony Brown and Larry Nance, Jr. both cited as a great influence on them as they learned to be professionals.
The big man may prove to be a better fit in Charlotte should they eventually sign him, with defenders like Nicolas Batum and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist able to approximate the type of wings he had during his heyday with the Indiana Pacers.
On the right contract, Hibbert could prove to be a value signing for the Hornets. If he doesn’t bounce back from his year with the Lakers, however, his presence could lead to a literal crying MJ signing his checks.