NBA super sleuth Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Portland Trailblazers have offered Roy Hibbert the maximum contract they’re permitted to offer (estimated at $58 million over four years) under the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Amick has also reported that the Pacers did not offer Hibbert a similar, 5-year max deal in their initial negotiations with the restricted free agent center.
The Portland Trail Blazers offered Indiana Pacers restricted free agent center Roy Hibbert a maximum contract after meeting with him in Washington, D.C., early Sunday, SI.com has learned.
A source with knowledge of the meeting said Indiana did not offer a max deal at the outset of the free-agent negotiating period and, unless that changes, Hibbert is leaning toward signing the Trail Blazers’ four-year, $58 million offer sheet. The Pacers would then have three days to match the offer and retain the 25-year-old All-Star.
In addition, the source said one other team, which was not named, also offered Hibbert a max deal after the start of free agency on Sunday at 12:01 a.m. ET. Players cannot officially sign contracts until July 11.
Ultimately, however, this isn’t shocking. We all knew that some team was going to throw a max offer at Hibbert. Now, as always, the figurative ball is completely in the Pacers court. And here is what will likely transpire over the next several hours/days/weeks.
1. The Pacers front office will continue to talk to Hiibert’s agent. They will continue to discuss why Indiana is the best place for Roy. Hibbert’s agent will continue to tell them they have a $58 million offer. Indiana will either offer that same deal, something like it or perhaps a deal that gives Roy more money overall but less per year. (They are the only team that can offer a five-year contract.)
2. Roy’s agent will either come to an agreement with Indiana (which can offer a max deal of $79 million over 5 years) or prove unable to and sign the max offer sheet from Portland on July 11.
3. If Roy signs an offer sheet with Portland (or another team that offers the max in between now and step three here), Indiana has three days to match that offer and thus retain Hibbert for the next four years.
It seems certain that the Pacers would match a max deal. It also seems likely that they wouldn’t make Roy and his agent go through the charade of actually signing the offer sheet from Portland and instead just offer him a four-year max deal (at least) before it comes to that.
Really, the only actual decision the Pacers have to make is whether to now offer him a four-year max or try to lock him up for five years.
NOTE: Headline and opening sentence have been edited to reflect the estimated max salary, which won’t be an official number until after the NBA audit is finished on July 11.