Can the Clippers swing a deal for Roy Hibbert?


If the Clippers want to be a contending team in 2015-16, they’ll have to move fast and find a viable replacement for now-Dallas Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan (reports say the All-Defense 1st teamer agreed to a four-year deal worth the max with Dallas).

Even without Jordan, a nucleus of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick partnered with complimentary pieces in Paul Pierce, C.J. Wilcox, Branden Dawson, and Lance Stephenson plus whomever they add through the rest of free agency is still a talented team — in the West, a 5-8 seed. But for Paul, Griffin, and Rivers, 6 to 8 isn’t good enough; it’s championship or bust for this group, fair or not.

So how do the Clippers, without cap space, find a good enough center to alleviate the loss of Jordan? One option being floated around is a three-team deal between the Clippers, Mavericks and Indiana Pacers that’d land Roy Hibbert in LA.

A one year tryout gives Hibbert a chance to prove he’s worthy of a deal superior to his current ($15.5 mil) once he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer

The foundation of the three-teamer would be such: through a sign-and-trade the Clippers take on Hibbert’s $15.5 million deal, the Pacers would sign Monta Ellis — the two sides have already agreed to a deal worth $44 million over four years — and the Mavs would sign DeAndre Jordan. To get the deal working monetarily, other pieces would need to be moved but this is how things could fall.

Why would the Pacers do this when they can sign Ellis directly into free cap space? If one thing was learned this off-season, Larry Bird and co. can’t wait to get from up under Roy Hibbert — both him as the player and his deal — as they hope to play faster next season. “We’ll have to see how it all plays out and what the roster ultimately looks like but there’s a possibility that Roy’s role will be diminished, if we’re trying to play faster and trying to play smaller,” said Pacers coach Frank Vogel when asked Hibbert would remain a starter in 2014-15. “But a lot of stuff is going to happen this summer, we’ll see how the roster shapes out coming into next season.”

Why would the Mavericks do this when they could sign Jordan directly into their freed cap space and leave a competing Western Conference team in mediocrity? Outside of Jordan, Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons, and Wes Matthews, this Mavericks team lacks depth. To make salaries match, they could fill out depth while adding assets for a possible future deal (Ty Lawson maybe?).

Why would the Clippers partake in this deal? They could rent a former Defensive Player of the Year for one season.

A one year tryout gives Hibbert a chance to prove he’s worthy of a deal superior to his current ($15.5 mil) once he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. The last season and a half has been all bad for Hibbert. Just two years ago, after a successful series against the Miami Heat in the playoffs, Hibbert looked well on his way to being one of the best young centers in the NBA, especially on the defensive end where he controlled the paint as few did. Then things fell apart — Hibbert hit rock bottom in the 2013-14 playoffs (on the biggest stage).

In regards to fit, Hibbert and Jordan are two different centers stylistically meaning changes would have to be made on Doc Rivers‘ end to best adjust and utilize the 7-footer.

Defensively, unlike Jordan, Hibbert lacks the lateral quickness to hand with guards and wings after hedging the pick-and-roll meaning Rivers would have to re-tool his defense to make Hibbert fit as the Indy big excels by hanging back and contesting at the rim. Last season, Hibbert allowed opponents to shoot 42.6% at the rim on 7.6 attempts per game; for comparison, Jordan allowed 48.5% on 8.7 attempts. In 2013-14, Hibbert allowed opponents to shoot 41.4% on 9.8 attempts, the best by any NBA player who appeared in 50+ games and contested at least six shots per game.

Live Feed

Five players signed past their prime in the second Hornets era
Five players signed past their prime in the second Hornets era /

Swarm and Sting

  • Indiana Pacers: Celebrating the day the dunk stood still8 Points, 9 Seconds
  • We ranked all Indiana Pacers All-Stars of the last two decades8 Points, 9 Seconds
  • Indiana Pacers: 3 best playoff moments since 2011, according to fans8 Points, 9 Seconds
  • Indiana Pacers: Could Roy Hibbert join the next coaching staff?8 Points, 9 Seconds
  • Indiana Pacers: Selecting the 2010s All-Decade Lineup8 Points, 9 Seconds
  • On the glass, Hibbert doesn’t come close to Jordan (unless he’s playing the Miami Heat). In his best season, Hibbert averaged 8.8 per game; last year, DeAndre Jordan averaged nearly double that at 15. The difference can be made up thanks to under contract personnel: Blake Griffin showed in the playoffs he’s a 10 to 12 rebound guy when he wants to be and Lance Stephenson is a greedy rebounder himself. Even second-round pick Branden Dawson could contribute despite being undersized.

    Offensively, Jordan bests Hibbert again. While Hibbert most resembles your “traditional 90s center” i.e. post-ups and an occasional mid-range jumper (shot 38% from there last year), Jordan’s ability to create space due to his diving/finishing ability out of the pick-and-roll and in transition has done wonders for players like J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes over the years.

    It’s a big change, but at this point Doc Rivers can’t be picky if they want to compete next season. Worst-case scenario, the three-team deal  turns out to be a one-year rental, with the Clippers retooling in the summer of 2016 when the contracts of Hibbert, Stephenson, Crawford, etc., are off the books.

    Will the deal happen? At this point no one knows as it’s dependent on the cooperation of three teams, two who don’t need the trade to bring in their off-season signings. For the Clippers sake, they better hope it does.

    More from Clipperholics