Blazers Offer Roy Hibbert a Max, Four-Year Contract

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.

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  • richard

    i think we got to cut our losses. roys been great 4 us, but we cant afford to b over paying and wont have room to improve our team

  • eric

    I think we have to match whatever he gets. We go back to square one without him, and there is nothing similar out there. He has improved each year, and i dont think he is done. Great team mate, great for the city. Would be a huge mistake to let him go.

  • Tom

    horrible news. we gotta match it, but man I didn’t want to have to go max. we just don’t have a choice. what does this team look like without roy next year? who starts at center? who could we get? we’re screwed without roy but he’s not worth a max deal. so it’s time to overpay…

  • Mike

    7’2″ doesnt average a double double, extremely passive personality, limited minutes/ athleticism. You can’t teach hieght, but you sure can overpay it. Personally If we could sign a defensive center (Camby) what do we lose? We need roy for his shot blocking and defense not his scoring and 6 fouls. 14.5 mil a year is too much for me, cut that by about 3 -3.5 mil and we’ll talk.

  • Realist

    What would Larry Bird do?

  • Mike

    Gotta keep him. Like Eric said, can’t go back to square one. It sucks, but keeping the starting five together is key. Improving the bench is the next step. Pacers have a ton of money. We are in great position to sign him. And say he improves to 16 ppg, 11 rpg, 2-3 blocked shots. Not a bad line. Not max money stuff, but you aren’t going to go out and get that from anyone else in the league. And we can’t afford to have a huge hole at center. We had a hole for a while between JO being hurt and out until Hibbert turned it around. We were terrible. Inside out game is what you need to win. We have that now. Many execs have said he is an absolute beast and they’d all want him on their team even though he doesn’t put up monster stats.

    Watch the Plumlee presser on Pacers.com. Pritchard and Donnie are committed to keeping the starting five together. Roy isn’t leaving Indy. It’ll be a five year deal for a little less per year. Think about it. We were paying JO 20 million!! I think Hibbs is worth overpaying at 14.

  • Mike

    And it looks like Asik just got offered ~8 mil a year. Skilled big men are rare. And if Asik is getting that kind of money, it makes Roy getting 14+ not sound so bad.

  • little B

    This isn’t surprising, but still sucks. Won’t be mad either which way the Pacers go here. I love Roy but it does tie the Pacers hands a little, but it’s not like Kaman will be much cheaper if they let Roy go and sign him. If they let Roy go though, it will pretty much disasemble the team.
    Let’s hope Roy doesn’t sign with Portland right away so it let’s the Pacers talk around the league and see what it is going to cost the Pacers to keep Hill and also get Crawford or Mayo. Then hopefully they can say hey, we got these guys but we need you Roy to sign for 5 yr/62-65 mil? Not sure how the Pacers look on the “salary cap” but I doubt they can get much after Hill and Hibbert if they sign big deals to them.
    Anyone know what Hill is going to ask?

    They only way the Pacers players roster “improves” this next year (other than players just getting better, which will happen, and will be needed to win a title) is 2 ways:
    1. Hibbert, Hill take slightly less money over a longer contract period to open up for cap space
    (95% sure they Pacers will go this route since the franchise doesn’t make money)

    2. Pacers go over salary cap. Don’t see this happening but if feels like the Pacers are still on the verge of being very close to moving to a different city. Good way to show this city and team is in it to win it is to go over (even just a little) to really show its about winning. Sign Mayo or Crawford even if Hibbert and Hill take to you to the cap. This will make this team notches better, and get the Pacer nation filling the stands again. But I am guessing this will never happen with Simon as the owner.

  • Chris D.

    It’s tough, but I remember back when Rik Smits was a passive stumble-bum. He ended up a solid center when we had a good team to feed him and work the perimeter. Roy is half way there and has 5-7 good years in him. If the choice was between Deron Williams and Roy, I’d say spend it on D-Will. But, that ain’t gonna happen, so let’s keep what we got. We can always trade him later if some super stud comes available to us. Teams are always hungry for a big man.

  • trifecta3131

    Hibbert is a good guy & a good player, but everyone agrees he’s not max-level good. I say, if the choice is between a max contract or letting him walk, then just let him walk. This reminds me of Joe Johnson (ATL). He wasn’t a max guy & everybody knew it, but ATL signed him anyhow because the other options weren’t much better & ATL had trouble drawing free agents. So they figured, what the hell, let’s just get him in here & overspend on him. That contract is now a 5yr HUGE financial burden that straps their ability to bring in other FAs.
    Seems to me everyone is saying you gotta sign Hibbert because the center position is awful. And while I agree it is a WEAK position now, you can’t say w/ 100% certainty it’ll remain that way for the next 5 yrs (the length of a contract Hibbert would get).
    Either you try to reason w/ Roy & see if he’ll take a 5yr contract for maybe 11-12M a year w/ the Pacers or you let him walk. Don’t pay him 14.5M/yr. It’ll hurt too much down the road

  • Mike

    Comparing this deal to the Joe Johnson deal is almost apples and oranges. 6 years 119 million, or 5 and around 75. And a skilled center is much more rare than a wing scorer. I say we keep him. If not, who do we have starting at C next year? And who are we possibly brininging in to replace that production? We have control of the best asset out there. No sense in letting him walk. Larry set us up with all this cap space for a reason.

  • Joe B

    Let’s face it, Roy made life difficult for the Heat when he was on the floor, and if the Pacers could have gotten him the ball a little more often, despite the rebounding woes, maybe the Pacers push harder to win the series. He has improved his game and worked hard each season, and he has been great to the fans. Without him, the Pacers are very, very limited, defensively and offensively.

    Sign him to a 5-year deal. I still think his game will improve, and he has been able to avoid injuries thus far. If Plumlee develops behind Roy over the next 2 years of his rookie deal, the Pacers could have one of the best center rotations in the league (assuming Plumlee does develop in a similar fashion as Roy, which is a big “if”).

    This nearly eliminates the Pacers ability to scoop any big name from free-agency, but if you keep the core together and do not have to overpay Hill, then a veteran who can score/ pass could be in reach….Nash, Nash, Nash, Nash…put the Pacers D, with Hibbert in the middle, behind Nash…scary.

  • Aj

    @Mike Really liked your last point. People just see 14.5 Million a year and freak out. It’s not an unreasonable number though considering its the league and the free agency market that dictates a players value. Roy Hibbert is is a better all around center then Omar Asik who just got offered roughly 8 million a year. He was a backup center for the Chicago Bulls last year. Roy Hibbert was not only our starter, but an All Star as well. Players should be rewarded with more money when they reach statuses of that nature. Also consider the fact that he has improved each and every year. If we lock him up for 5 years that 14.5 million is not that bad at all. Remember we have D West coming off the books next season and Granger coming off the books in the next couple years which will free up over 20 Million in cap space!!!! So quit freaking out Pacer Nation, offer Hibbert 5 years 60-65 Million. Also, on a lighter note, George Hill accepted a 5 year deal from the Pacers today! Financial terms were not disclosed yet.

  • Special K

    As we just saw in the Finals, a true center is no longer an essential piece of a championship team. Roy is passive, not athletic and inconsistent. He disappears entirely far too often, and still hasn’t learned how to not foul. Maybe he’ll develop in to something special, maybe he’ll stay where he is now. One way or another, I just don’t think he’s worth a max contract. Yes, the Pacers would be taking a big step back without him, but look at it this way : will they ever be legit championship contenders if they match this deal?

  • Jack

    @Special K – You can’t use the Heat to make that comparison. (They have Lebron James. And Dwyane Wade. And Chris Bosh.) Before last season, I was one of the people who was in favor of getting rid of Hibbert. He seemed too slow, wasn’t a great finisher (to me), and wasn’t improving at the pace we needed him to. But this season, particularly down the stretch, I saw an all-star center, and an extremely valuable player to our squad. Sure he’s a bit inconsistent and not athletic. But the value he showed during the playoffs was huge. If we want to continue to be title contenders, and if we want to improve, we need to keep Hibbert. He’s becoming a heck of a finisher at the rim and has drastically improved in his post moves; he’s enormously important in his rebounding; he’s a hard worker and a good presence to have on the team; and he’s only showing signs of continued improvement. I was pretty devastated yesterday when I heard the news that the Blazers offered Hibbert a deal. We need him. We need the frontcourt duo of him and West. Our best chance at a title is in the next 1-3 years.. We need to keep our best players on our side, and work to improve our weak spots (i.e. passing-oriented PG, such as STEVE NASH, and bench scoring).

  • Ian

    Hibbert is imperfect, but he changes everything when he is on the floor. Those sorts of players are rare in the NBA, and not giving him a deal would set us back years. We might as well trade everyone away and tank for a lottery pick. There’s a reason other teams are willing to pay that kind of money.

  • Mike

    Ian – Exactly. He only blocks 2 shots a game but alters probably 2 or 3 others as well and is that “presence” in the paint whenever he is in. He probably saves 6-8 potential points on D every game for us. I wasn’t a huge Hibbert fan the past few seasons either, but if he walks, we have a huge hole. And with only Kaman out there, he’ll be getting at least 10 mil or more a year. Might as well stick with the guy who knows the system, is younger, and better. It’s not the best scenario for the Pacers, but I highly doubt hibbert is going to be a guy that we look down the road in 3 or 4 years and say “what the hell were we thinking?” He still has some room to improve and playing with a full offseason with the same group of guys and coaches will def. help.

    Oh, and Marc Gasol was given a max deal last year. Do we not think Hibbert is better than him even if he is being overpaid?

  • PG

    Sorry Mike, I’m a Hibbert fan, but even I don’t think he’s the caliber player that Gasol is. Gasol is a far better passer than Hibbert and is a stronger one on one post defender (though admittedly that’s needed less and less for centers these days). They’re both very good help defenders. I think Hibbert has a few more low post moves that he doesn’t get to showcase too often due to the Pacers’ poor interior passing. However Gasol moves really well within a limited space. He does a good job getting good position to receive entry passes or interior passes. Zach Randolph is almost always working down low on the block and Gasol still finds a way to make himself available and to crash the boards. He’s also just flat out a way better athlete than Hibbert. Hibbert labors mightily to get up and down the court, especially in transition. Gasol has very little problem with that, plus he’s played 30+ minutes a night his entire career. Hibbert has never played 30+ in 4 seasons. Sorry but if you’re using Gasol’s contract to feel better about Hibbert’s deal, it’s just not working.

    As for Hibbert’s deal, I’m really just torn. I know the Pacers need him to succeed, but I think this will hamstring the Pacers into at most a 3 year window in which they have to win a championship. Can they do it with the current personnel? I don’t know, but I think it’s unlikely. If they let him they’ll almost certainly take a step back, even if they get Kaman or someone else. Just a really tough call. I’m still hopeful that he’ll agree to a deal that’s something like $62 million per 5 years.

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  • Jack

    Hibbert is way better than Marc Gasol.

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