By Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com
Acquiring Roy Hibbert in a salary-dump deal is among the Dallas Mavericks' backup plans to acquire a starting center if they aren’t able to persuade DeAndre Jordan to leave Los Angeles, according to a source.
The Mavs, however, remain hopeful that Jordan will choose the chance to be a franchise cornerstone in Dallas over staying in the shadow of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Mavs made a strong impression on Jordan during their Wednesday morning meeting, particularly coach Rick Carlisle, sources told ESPN.com. The Clippers’ meeting with Jordan is scheduled for Thursday evening.
Jordan also met with the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks, but his decision is expected to come down to the Mavs or Clippers, with sources considering it a coin flip at this point.
If Jordan doesn’t choose Dallas, the Mavs must find a starting center after the free-agency market has been picked thin. Dallas anticipates that Robin Lopez, the last available proven starting center, will be off the board by the time Jordan makes his decision.
Former Memphis Grizzlies backup Kosta Koufos would be the best available center in free agency in that case. He would also receive serious consideration from the Mavs, a source said.
But trading for Hibbert, whose $15.5 million salary the Indiana Pacers would like to shed, would allow the Mavs to fill their vacancy at center without making a long-term financial commitment. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert is in the final season of his contract.
Hibbert was an All-Star as recently as 2013-14 but has struggled the last season and a half and doesn’t fit the Pacers’ plan to play faster. Still, the 28-year-old has the size and ability to be one of the NBA’s premier rim protectors.