Lakers Taking Necessary Gamble on Roy Hibbert After Flopping in Free Agency

It wasn't the signature addition for which the Los Angeles Lakers were hoping—not a Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan or even Greg Monroe. Nor was the price right for DeMarcus Cousins, despite the organization's latest attempt to strike a deal with the Sacramento Kings.

Acquiring Roy Hibbert from the Indiana Pacers is a stopgap measure, a Band-Aid solution for general manager Mitch Kupchak and an undoubtedly frustrated front office that's otherwise come up empty in free agency. The emergence of point guard D'Angelo Russell will be entertaining enough, as will a healthy Kobe Bryant. But there will be no saviors this summer.

Hibbert isn't that. He is, however, a pleasantly surprising element of the organization's contingency plan, and his official acquisition is but a matter of time.

It's also a bargain in trade terms.

The money isn't ideal, but nor is it prohibitive over the long term.

Hibbert was scheduled to make $15,514,031, according to, and that figure will escalate by over $2 million due a trade kicker in the 28-year-old's contract. While L.A. can add to its roster around the margins, this move all but closes the door on another major acquisition. The good news is that 2015-16 is the last season on Hibbert's contract, leaving the franchise with ungodly amounts of cap room next summer (when Bryant's $25 million also comes off the books).

Though he isn't likely to radically alter the Lakers' playoffs chances, Hibbert fills an immediate need at the 5. The organization didn't pick up an option on center Jordan Hill, leaving the team's incumbent big man a free agent.

Some will hold Hibbert's recent history against him, and that's not entirely fair. IndyStar's Candace Buckner outlines his gradual demise over the last three seasons:

Hibbert made the All-Star team in 2011-12 while having the best season of...

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