With Paul George lost for the entire 2013-14 season, the Pacers are scrambling to add some pep to an offense that ranked in the bottom third last season, even with George’s team-leading 21.7 PPG. A new report says they contacted Phoenix about acquiring third-team All-NBA point guard Goran Dragic in exchange for Roy Hibbert, Chris Copeland and cash.
The Suns rejected the offer, but it’s interesting to note Indiana continues to dangle the runner-up for 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year, Hibbert. A week into free agency, there were whisperings Indiana was quietly shopping the 7-foot rim-protector and after PG went down with a career-threatening break of the tibia and fibula, they were hoping Hibbert, sharpshooter Chris Copeland and cash would entice the guard-heavy Suns to relinquish Dragic, who will likely opt out next year.
No dice, though as SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun translated the news during an interview with Dragic and Ekipa.
“Indiana offered Roy Hibbert, Chris Copeland and some cash, but according to my sources, the Suns rejected the offer.”
Bright Side of the Sun’s Jorgi translated more of the video and added that a report out of Dragic’s native Slovenia says he actually got on the phone with Suns management when he found out about the rumor through the media.
Jorgi continues with the translation of the video and notes that Dragic was flattered by the attention from Indiana, but he doesn’t want to move since he has a lot of friends in Phoenix. Then again, as we noted before, Dragic has a player option this summer, and added when talking about the proposed trade during his interview with Ekipa, “It’s the NBA. You’re here today, and there tomorrow. It’s business”.
For Hibbert, Phoenix’s unwillingness to part with Dragic — who wasn’t even an all-star last season, despite eventually being named third-team All-NBA — signifies just how far he’s fallen since starting the 2013-14 campaign. He played the first 50 games of the season as one of the best inside defenders in the league, and that staunch support at the basket tapered off badly come playoff time.
Indiana scored 4.4 points fewer per 100 possessions when George sat last season, via NBA.com, and even with him in uniform, they were 22nd in the league in offensive rating. They’re going to struggle to score even more next year with the departure of Lance Stephenson in free agency and George with the broken leg. For Hibbert, the offer could be seen as an indictment of a game that looked in shambles at the start of the playoffs — particularly when he struggled in the first round against the Hawks.
Roy played better against the Wizards in the second round, but he better hope Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s tutelage this summer helps him add a more well-rounded offensive game while continuing to perform well shielding opponents from easy points at the basket. The Pacers are going to need him to play like a Defensive Player of the Year if they’re going to have any chance while trotting out a team lacking last season’s primary offensive weapons.
(Ekipa; Bright Side of the Sun)
Do you make this trade if you’re Phoenix?
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