Aldridge: Hibbert Leaning Toward Portland Max Offer

NBA.com's David Aldridge updates the free agent story on Roy Hibbert with news that the big fella was blown away by Portland's presentation and is now leaning toward preferring to land in Portland. Aldridge is based in D.C. with a solid history and access to Hibbert and his agent David Falk.

The Pacers would still be able to match any offer for Hibbbert when the July moratorium expires, but teams generally work out deals for players who express a specific desire to be elsewhere once they become free agents.

The Pacers are still likely to match the offer, because Hibbert has become one of the league's top centers and his skills as a passing big man are a rare commodity in the NBA these days. But a source indicated Sunday that the organization would have to take a look at the offer before making a definitive commitment.

The team's owner, Herb Simon, has OK'd a decision to go either way depending on what the team's new basketball operations group, led by team president Donnie Walsh and general manager Kevin Pritchard, ultimately recommend.

Not sure what kind of deal Aldridge is talking about there since the Pacers couldn't match the offer and then work out a deal with Portland. Here's what the Larry Coon's CBA FAQ's says about it.

There can be no compensation given to a team in return for their submitting or not submitting an offer sheet, or for matching or not matching an offer to a restricted free agent. For example, Houston could not sign Golden State's restricted free agent to an offer sheet, then send Golden State a draft pick in exchange for their not matching the offer.

If the team matches an offer sheet and retains their free agent, then for one year they cannot trade him without his consent, and cannot trade him at all to the team that signed him to an offer sheet. They also can't trade the player in a sign-and-trade transaction.

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