Over the course of this offseason, we've seen several restricted free agents grow unhappy as they didn't end up in their preferred destinations. Both New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon and Portland Trail Blazers wing Nicolas Batum signed big-money offer sheets with other clubs and professed great desire to move on, only to have those deals matched by their present teams. While everyone claims to have moved on with the intention of acting perfectly professionally, the whole situation is a little awkward. It's hard for player and team to act like everything is ideal.
Center Roy Hibbert, who inked a four-year, $58-million max-level offer sheet with the Blazers at the start of the free-agency period, will not deal with any awkwardness when he returns to the Indiana Pacers next season. In part, that's because Hibbert has found a home for himself and given no indications that he loves any other team more. But it's also because Hibbert is a supremely likable All-Star who knows how to show his fans how much he appreciates them.
For proof, watch this clip from Fox 59's Larry Hawley in Indianapolis. (EDITOR'S NOTE: We'd show it to you here, but the embed code's not playing nice, it seems.) This weekend, Hibbert hosted the members of his Area 55 cheering section for a private game of laser tag. Hibbert says he went 3-0, which makes sense when you consider he can probably see over every barrier on the neon-lit battlefield.
There was no bad blood between Pacers brass and Hibbert when he signed his Portland offer, and gestures like this one show why Hibbert will only build on his popularity as his career continues. The man is affable, thoughtful and also pretty funny.
We can only hope he hasn't run out of ideas for Area 55 outings. May I suggest miniature golf?
(Video via Indy Cornrows)