The Indiana Pacers as expected, will match the offer sheet that the Portland Trail Blazers extended to All-Star center Roy Hibbert last week, which will keep him the “Hoosier State” for the next four-years and pay him $58 million over the life of the contract, the “Indianapolis Star” reported on Monday. The Association’s moratorium in signing Free Agents ends Tuesday night at midnight, at which time clubs will be able to sign Free Agents. Portland’s new General Manager Neil Olshey, was proactive last week and offered Hibbert the offer sheet not long after teams could contact Free Agents on July 1.
The real shock would have been if Indiana had declined to match the Blazer’s offer, considering the improvement in the former Georgetown center’s game over the past two seasons, which coincided with Frank Vogel becoming the club’s head coach. Hibbert made his first NBA All-Star squad, this past season and averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest. Hibbert dominated the last few games of the team’s first round Playoff series against the Orlando Magic, helping them advance to the second round of the Post Season.
For the Blazers, it is back to searching for a player to man the pivot for the upcoming campaign. 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, but it was not destined for this deal to happen. 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. The Trail Blazers could now turn their interest to former Hornets center Chris Kaman, who is an unrestricted Free Agent and as of yet has not fielded any reported offers.