NBA Free-Agency Rumors: Locking Up Roy Hibbert a No-Brainer for Pacers
The decision took longer than it probably should have, but it appears the Indiana Pacers are going to match the offer sheet given to Roy Hibbert by the Portland Trail Blazers. It's the right decision and one the Pacers shouldn't second guess.
Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports the team spent an entire week weighing the positives and negatives of matching the deal, which will total $58 million over four years, before ultimately deciding to keep Hibbert once the signing is allowed on Wednesday.
It's unclear what made the Pacers front office have any doubts, because the decision should have been made in a heartbeat. There's a lack of post players who are capable of making a major impact in the NBA right now, so Indiana can't afford to lose a rising star like Hibbert.
He's made steady progress during his four seasons in the league after getting drafted out of Georgetown as a raw talent. The Pacers have handled him perfectly, slowing working him into the rotation over time before giving him a larger role the past two years.
Hibbert rewarded the Pacers by averaging 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Those numbers were all career highs and only scratch the surface of what he's capable of doing.
Big men with his combination of size, skill and athleticism don't come around often. When they do, teams can't afford to lose them, even if it means opening up the checkbook to pay for a big contract.
The 25-year-old center still has plenty of time to develop before reaching his prime seasons. By the time he's 28, there's no reason to believe he won't be a dominant force in the paint worth every penny of his new contract.
Would matching Hibbert's offer be the right move?
One thing that's overlooked about Hibbert, and makes the deal even more acceptable, is his durability. In an era where it seems like power forwards and centers are going down on a weekly basis, Hibbert rarely misses a game.
Knowing he will be on the court instead of on the sidelines makes the hefty price tag a lot easier to accept for the Pacers. It's definitely a better investment than somebody who's injury prone.
Indiana made great progress as a team last season. The Pacers finished third in the Eastern Conference, ahead of more hyped teams like the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, and gave the eventual champion Miami Heat a run for their money in the playoffs.
Losing Hibbert would have been a major step in the wrong direction as the other Eastern powers continue to load up their rosters. The Pacers have a good, young core and must keep it together as long as possible.
Luckily for Pacers fans, it seems like the front office realized that before letting Hibbert walk away.
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