Indianapolis’ native hero isn’t going anywhere. As first reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, George Hill has come to terms with Indiana on a five-year deal. We still don’t know the dollar amount so it’s hard to know exactly how good of a move this is, but the Pacers were the only team that could offer him a five-year deal (as opposed to four), so they were presumably able to use that to their advantage in negotiations that were finalized about 36 hours after the free-agency period began. We can probably presume the contract will pay Hill somewhere between $35 million and $40 million ($7-$8 million annually). Much more than that would be approaching fiscal irresponsibility.
The money question is obviously the most important. But the timing of this may also come into play.
If the front office can get Hill — and, more importantly, Roy Hibbert, who reportedly has been offered a max four-year contract by the Portland Trailblazers and at least one other team — to hold off a quick minute before signing their deals once they can on July 11, they will have a little more flexibility as far as signing one other marquee contributor.
This is due to “cap holds.”
Right now, as incumbent free agents, Hill and Roy only count $3.9 and $6.5 million, respectively, against the Pacers’ cap. This leaves Indiana about $10 million under the cap. Obviously, that is plenty of room to add a major piece like OJ Mayo, Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Ersan Illysova, Brandon Bass, and perhaps even Steve Nash if he is willing to take a discount.
Then again, it’s more up to the Pacers front office to ensure they can use this (sorta) cap loophole to their advantage. They still have 9 more days to hammer out an agreement with any of those guys before they lose their fortunate team-building position.
Regardless, the Pacers now have their starting point guard back. The Pacers went 7-2 in their final 9 regular season games after Hill took over as the team’s starting point guard. And they went 6-5 in 11 playoff games with him at the helm as they put a scare into the Miami Heat in the second round by taking a 2-1 series lead before losing their final 3 games of the season.
If Indiana also brings back Hibbert, they will return their entire starting lineup from last season.