The first huge shot of the 2012 NBA Free Agency war was fired, as the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, let loose a howitzer blast aimed directly at the Indiana Pacers. According to a story reported by “SI.com,” Portland’s new General Manager Neil Olshey has offered Indiana Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert a max deal. The former Los Angeles Clippers General Manager hired by the Blazers last month, tendered the Pacers big man a four-year offer sheet for a reported $58 million. If the talented big man does sign the offer, which he will be able to do on July 7, the Pacers would have three days to match it, or he would end up in Portland.
The move by the Blazers, shows that they believe the future is now and Olshey will pull out all the stops, to get his new team back among the elite teams in the Association. The team cut ties earlier this year with former number one NBA Draft pick Greg Oden, after the former Buckeye spent most of his time with the club unable to play due to injuries.
Hibbert, has blossomed the past year and a half, since coming under the tutelage of Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. The big man, who showed his ability while playing his college ball at Georgetown, had lost his confidence under the constant criticism by his former bench boss Jim O’Brien. Vogel, would become his talented, young center’s biggest cheerleader and Hibbert rewarded his coach’s faith by playing the best ball of his career since joining the Association. Hibbert was named to his first NBA All-Star game this past season.
Portland is hoping that the recent shakeup in the front office of Indiana, might work in their favor and allow them to acquire the big man, as former Team President Larry Bird and General Manager David Morway, resigned their positions with the club last week, replaced by Walsh as the new Team President, while former Portland General Manager Kevin Pritchard, now fills that position with the Pacers.
The 25-year-old center, has improved every year of his four-year career in the NBA, as he averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2 blocks per game this past season. Before Bird left the Pacers, he told reporters that the team had enough money under the salary cap to keep all of their players heading into Free Agency. That statement could be tested in the next few days.