The Indiana Pacers got their money's worthy out of Roy Hibbert this summer.
Not only did the big fella dedicate himself to improving his game to help the team on the court, but he spent much of his free time promoting the Pacers off the court to improve attendance at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Since Hibbert is a model Pacer with a game that shows plenty of promise (sorry, couldn't resist), it was an easy decision for the organization to exercise their option to lock up Roy for the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. The team had until November 1st (not October 31st as I mentioned in an earlier post because Nov. 1st is a Monday) to exercise the option which will pay Hibbert in the 'hood of $2.6 million. Roy tweeted his happiness at the news.
Indy I will be around for another year! Just got my letter from the Pacers exercising my option for 2011-2012. I still have a job. Nice!!!!!
Obviously, the decision to do the same for Brandon Rush is more complicated and the team is still weighing their options on Rush. There are a lot of angles to consider and questions to ponder with the Rush decision.
Do they set him free next year and bank the $2.9 million in cap space? Do they lock him up for the low rookie contract money and hope his game improves to meet or exceed the salary? The Pacers took that chance on Danny Granger when they locked him into a long-term deal at a relatively reasonable rate before he went out and made the All-Star team. Had the team waited, Granger could've added $8-10 million to the total of his current deal.
Would Rush be more valuable on the trade market with that extra year of rookie year salary locked in or as an expiring contract? If his game draws the attention of trade partners I would think they'd like the extra cheap year. If not, trying to move him around the deadline as an expiring contract would be much easier.
Unless the Pacers are already set on bringing back Rush, they might as well use every second of the preseason to continue evaluating their options on Rush's option.