The Trailblazers offered Roy Hibbert a max contract the moment free agency started. But Hibbert does not hold the cards to his own future. If the Pacers want to bring back the big fella, they can do so. Their choices are two: (1) let Hibbert sign that 4-year, $58.4 million offer sheet with Portland on July 11 and then match the deal, thus retaining him, or (2) negotiate a different deal with Roy before then and get him to sign on to stay in Indiana.
Of course, they can also just let him sign that offer and not match. Then, Hibbert is a Blazer.
Mike Wells, the Indianapolis Star’s Pacers beat writer, thinks that last option is what Indiana’s front office will do. “My personal feeling is I think Roy will be in Portland next season,” he said earlier today on the radio. Speaking on the Pacers willingness to pay Hibbert $14 million(ish) per year for the next four seasons, Wells added that “I don’t think they want to go that far with him.”
ESPN’s Chad Ford expressed a similar sentiment. Ford wrote, albeit in an online chat, that he thinks the Pacers “are really on the fence” about matching a max offer from the Blazers and puts the chances that Roy plays for Indiana next year at “51%.”
Given all this — and perhaps also the fact that the team could use a back-up center even if they re-sign Hibbert — it isn’t surprising that the Pacers met with free-agent center Chris Kaman today. Marc Spears of Yahoo reported the following.
Hornets free agent C Chris Kaman had positive meeting with the Pacers’ brass over dinner tonight in Indy, but no offer made, source tells Y!
Again, chances are that those in the Pacers’ front office, who are likely scared only of the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference, see Kaman as both a good option if they don’t re-sign Hibbert and as a back-up to Hibbert. So they are probably trying to get a read on his willingness to come to Indiana in either role and trying to decipher how much it would cost. Thus, I’m not sure this tells us anything concrete about the team’s plans regarding Roy.
Still, something to watch.
UPDATE: These Marc with a C guys are all over this meeting. Marc Stein of ESPN just tweeted the following.
He will be meeting with more teams, but I’m told @ChrisKaman and size-seeking Pacers hit it off during an all-day meeting Monday in Indy
Pacers known to be seeking C to replace Roy Hibbert if they elect not to match Blazer offer sheet. Kaman known to want to join playoff team