The Indiana Pacers are going through some expected changes in the roster this offseason. After being the main competition to the Miami Heat for the past two seasons, the Pacers are losing one of their biggest contributors and could be letting go of another before the 2014 season begins. With Lance Stephenson officially moving on to the Charlotte Hornets, what does this mean for players like Roy Hibbert?
Stephenson is chasing the money. The guard was offered a three-year, $27 million contract with the Charlotte Hornets after turning down a five-year, $44 million deal with the Indiana Pacers. The guard was sitting on the free agent market waiting for money that he felt he deserved. Indiana had no plans on budging from their contract deal so Stephenson took his talents elsewhere.
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A year ago it seemed insane to thing that Stephenson would play anywhere but Indiana. The guard's stock was at an all-time high and he seemed destined for a big-time contract. However, a season of ups and downs causing his maturity to be questioned left Indiana thinking differently. Now they have cut ties with him altogether.
So what does this mean for the remaining players on Indiana's roster? According to Sporting News, the Pacers have been quietly shopping Hibbert this offseason, waiting to commit to something once they knew the future of Stephenson. Several teams appeared interested as the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and Phoenix Suns were all looking to the big man for help. However, with Stephenson out of the picture, the Pacers might not be able to afford letting Hibbert go.
There has been speculation that the Pacers are interested in getting involved in a trade for Rajon Rondo. ESPNBoston.com reported the Pacers could offer up a trade package that included Hibbert and George Hill in exchange for the point guard. Right now, Boston is denying Rondo is available for dealing, but they also said the same thing about Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett before sending them to the Brooklyn Nets. Anyone is available for the right price.
Giving up Hibbert and Hill at this point is not an option for Indiana unless they plan on overhauling the whole roster. The team lost a big scoring presence meaning Hibbert's defense and Hill are needed for the long run.