Central Notes: Hibbert, Love, Bucks

The Pacers performed their due diligence last summer and shopped center Roy Hibbert, but Indiana predictably found no takers for the big man, Sean Deveney of The Sporting News writes. This offseason may offer the franchise more luck in dealing the 28-year-old since he’ll be on an expiring contract, provided Hibbert exercises his player option worth $15,514,031, Deveney notes. One NBA assistant coach said Hibbert might be a worthy gamble for another team if the big man could be motivated to stay in shape, Deveney adds. “The last two years, he has dropped off in the second half of the season,” the assistant said. “With big guys like that, the first thing you think of is conditioning. If you can make sure he is in shape for all 82 games, maybe give him time off here and there, he would be worth the risk.”

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • LeBron James says that he hasn’t spoken with Kevin Love recently about whether or not the big man intends to opt out of his deal, Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com writes. When asked if Love would return to the Cavs next season, James said, “That’s a question that I can’t answer right now. I think that’s the last thing on his mind right now. What’s on his mind is his shoulder and how disappointed he is, how hurt he is over the fact that he can’t play in this postseason. I don’t think he’s thought about the offseason or what he wants to do. I haven’t had that conversation with him, and I shouldn’t have to have that conversation with him, especially right now when we’re going through this challenge and this battle of trying to win a championship. So I can’t answer that question.
  • The mid-season trade for Michael Carter-Williams shows that the Bucks are looking toward their future rather than trying to simply make the playoffs, Deveney writes in a separate piece. “That’s the difference between the past and now,” GM John Hammond told Deveney. “There’s the big difference. We’re not building toward that now. We’re building toward becoming a championship-caliber team.”
  • The Pistons would like to bring back unrestricted free agent Joel Anthony to fill the role of backup center next season, but the team needs to address more pressing needs prior to making a decision regarding the big man, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes.
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