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Roy Hibbert's value appears to be on the rise, so will any offer be too much for Indiana to match?
Indiana's future could hinge on whether Roy Hibbert returns to the Pacers.
For fans who hope he does, today did not bring good news, as Indiana did not offer a max deal, but the Portland Trailblazers did at four years, $58 million, and according to SI.com, Hibbert is leaning toward signing the Blazers' offer sheet (via ESPN's Chris Broussard). If Hibbert signs, the Pacers would have three days to match it.
Though Hibbert hasn't said anything public yet, the fact that Indiana didn't offer him a max deal could have easily offended him, as it could feel like a low-ball offer. While there are other good players for the Pacers, Hibbert is the glue because he can defend the paint as well as any big man in the game, and his offensive game is only getting better.
For Portland, this is a great idea because you do not want Meyers Leonard starting as a rookie, and having a veteran like Hibbert teaching him the ropes is a best-case scenario. Plus, it will allow LaMarcus Aldridge to play power forward nearly all the time, and give the Trailblazers the center they thought they were going to get in Greg Oden.
Indiana may have a lot of ego massaging to do with Hibbert if they do end up matching the offer sheet, and have now let the market dictate Hibbert's value, which you never want to do when you have restricted free agents of high caliber. Portland, meanwhile, has put itself in position to maybe get the unexpected steal of free agency.
Grade for Pacers: F
Grade for Trailblazers: A+