NBA free agency is barely a day old, and fireworks are already shooting off, even though the fourth of July is a few days away. Restricted free agent All-Star center Roy Hibbert has already been offered a max contract from the Portland Trailblazers, and is being scouted by several other teams around the league. Portland’s max offer bidding battle with the Indiana Pacers could reportedly reach five years and $79 million. The gauntlet has been thrown down, and now the ball is figuritively in the Indiana Pacer’s court, giving them three days to match the contract offer to Hibbert from Portland, once the offer is considered concrete on July 11th.
The Trailblazers wasted no time in offering to spare no expense for the fourth-year player, who had made his first NBA All-Star appearance this past season. There was little doubt that teams from around the league would express interest in Hibbert, as quality true big men at the center position are hard to find in the NBA these days. The suprising thing is the sheer speed of the offer and the size of the contract. Portland has made their intentions very clear very quickly, and now the Indiana Pacers are forced with their biggest free agent signing decision in years.
Not only is Hibbert already a solid player who is still developing game after game, but his efforts were a catalyst that helped the Pacers acquire the fifth best record in the NBA last season, and the third seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Hibbert is already a well-known and popular figure in the community around Indy. His prescence is appreciated, and would be sorely missed on and off the court. Both Hibbert and the Pacers have to do what is best for themselves, and for their futures. Now that the bidding war has begun, those two futures may take very different paths.