Shortly thereafter, Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird issued an official statement regarding the trade, which, though amicable, is also noticeably brief:
"I'd like to thank Roy for all his contributions during his time in Indiana," said Bird. "He was a two-time NBA All-Star, and we appreciate everything he did for our franchise both on and off the court."
Of course, what more could really be said about the now outgoing center once the team's head honcho had very pointedly and publicly made his case about Hibbert's relative obsolescence in the Pacers' new uptempo playing style?
Given the circumstances, perhaps brevity truly is the soul of wit.
Yet so much more can be said about what the Big Dawg meant to Indiana, before it became prudent for both parties to simply move on in the absence of one another.
At his best, Roy Hibbert was a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate. The Kingpin of Verticality, lying in wait for the unsuspecting guards his teammates would mercilessly lure toward him in the painted area. During the 2013 playoffs, he very memorably rejected Carmelo Anthony at the rim, a play which changed the tide of Game 6 and helped the Pacers avoid a Game 7 in Madison Square Garden. Then, in the Eastern Conference Finals, he averaged 22.1 points and 10.43 rebounds. After seven seasons with the Blue & Gold, he was twice named an All-Star and was selected to the NBA's Second Team All-Defense. With 990 career blocks, Hibbert ranks fourth in Pacers franchise history, behind only Jermaine O'Neal (1245), Rik Smits (1111), and Herb Williams (1094).
Off the court, the size of the 7-footer's personality and heart matched his physical stature and defensive presence. He performed to Gangnam Style at the Circle Center Mall in Downtown Indianapolis. He invited fans to work out with him in the off-season. He created Area 55 and invited members of the self-titled fan section to go laser tagging with him in Carmel. And when he just missed getting to visit Lee Eddins, a 12-year-old fan who passed away from Leukemia, Hibbert promoted a bone marrow drive at Castleton Mall and actively encouraged fans to sign up for the bone marrow donation registry. He visited Paul George in the hospital in Las Vegas, rather humorously bringing his teammate a care package which included Gummi bears and a silk-and-fur blanket. George later said that his teammates made the whole process "easier."
Unfortunately, Larry Bird's vision of the Pacers and Roy Hibbert are no longer compatible. Position-less basketball is en vogue and maximizing pace and space is near to a necessity if teams don't want to get left behind. But just because the league has evolved does not mean that memories about his contributions to Indiana's deep playoff runs need to evolve with it.
He's suffered from crises of confidence. He has a poor center of gravity. He struggled when the Atlanta Hawks utilized stretch-five Pero Antic to pull him out of the paint, and his 0-0 box scores inspired slews of disparaging memes. Yet, through it all, he is still an elite rim protector, which is precisely what the Pacers needed to get past Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks. It was the weapon they needed to go to battle with the Miami Heat, and it's mainly what made Frank Vogel's defensive system near to impenetrable. A big waiting in the paint, with Paul George and George Hill hounding passing lanes and going over the top of screens.
A lethal one-two punch.
Don't remember Roy Hibbert for what the Pacers are or are going to be become, look back at his time in Indiana and recall what he meant to what the Pacers were, "both on and off the court."