Hibbert, Pacers Not Worrying About Contract Status

Whether you like it or not, it appears Roy Hibbert won't agree to a contract extension with the Indiana Pacers by Wednesday's deadline the 2008 draft pick to sign an extension before becoming a restricted free agent this summer.

There is no harm in letting Hibbert become a restricted free agent since the Pacers can match any offer the market bears much like Denver did this past summer with Nene. But based on panicky emails I've received and comments on various threads over the past few weeks, fans are stressing Roy's contract more than Roy himself. As the big fella told Mike Wells last week, he's just letting the process play itself out.

"My personal gut feeling is that we'll do something in the summer, because the max guys are the ones that get extensions right away," Hibbert said. "I'm just going to follow my agent's lead."

Hibbert's agent David "The Bird of Prey" Falk, commented on Roy's contract status on Monday after Roy showed his value to the Pacers in their win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

"There's no rush," Falk said. "I think it's unlikely that we'll come to agreement this week. It doesn't mean in any way that he's not happy in Indiana. ... We've had very friendly discussions, and both sides recognize that the discussion is probably premature."

So while you shouldn't expect to hear about a contract extension by Wednesday, I would encourage those expecting the worst to consider Hibbert's situation with the Pacers both sides work toward an extension. Assuming Hibbert maintains the reliable role he's played thus far this season, making a hefty raise almost a given at this point, a deal will happen to keep Roy around.

I honestly would've shuddered at the thought of offering Hibbert more than $10 mil/yr prior to the season, but now something in the $12-$13 mil/yr range seems plausible. Even Hibbert admits he's not a max deal guy, so please don't get carried away. But he has shown how valuable a big guy with a reliable jump hook can be in the league and will likely get what he deserves.

Remember too, though that Hibbert also values what he has with the Pacers right now. Chasing the highest bidder doesn't make sense if the leadership situation is unknown. Hibbert knows this all too well after struggling physically and mentally to work under Jim O'Brien. So it appears that it is in the best interest of the Pacers and Hibbert to stick together as they both seem to have turned the corner to a more promising future.

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