According to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, the Pacers are preparing to pay the big man $58 million over the next four years.
The Pacers are matching Portland's 4-year, $58 million offer to Roy Hibbert, according to a source— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNBA) July 9, 2012
$14.5 million per season is a bargain for someone with Hibbert’s talent and size. Considering his improvement over the past four seasons, this is an extremely reasonable offer.
The 7’2”, 260-pound behemoth put up 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.7 assists while starting 65 regular season games for the third-best team in the Eastern Conference.
To put this in perspective, infamous draft bust Kwame Brown received a whopping $7 million from the Golden State Warriors to play off the bench this past season before being injured and subsequently traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.
There is an undeniable premium on size in the NBA, which makes a skilled big like Hibbert worth every penny. He is able to protect the rim, pull down boards, swat shots and continues to hone his low-post game.
While the former Georgetown standout may never be able to carry Indiana offensively, the production he provides at the center spot are a steal for $14.5 million per year.
Hibbert is only going to get better with more time on the court, and the Pacers have a better chance to contend by keeping their core together. One of the few things that the top teams in the league generally do not have is a dominant center, and Hibbert has shown signs of becoming one in recent years.
Should he eventually make a leap and solidify his status as a perennial All-Star, Indiana could become a dark horse NBA Finals contender. That $58 million contract will look awfully cheap if Hibbert helps lead the Pacers through East.