The Portland Trail Blazers are taking this offseason very seriously. Reports are stating that free agent center Roy Hibbert got offered a max deal from Portland GM Neil Olshey and team president Larry Miller. I think that is huge news, possibly showing what the team is willing to do to improve the roster right away.
This is where I assume that fans will start debating about whether Hibbert is worth that much money, but sometimes it is hard to put a price tag on just how valuable an All-Star center can be in this league. Due to Hibbert being a restricted free agent, the Indiana Pacers can now match the contract offer. It might be very tough for them to do that, though, possibly leading to the Blazers having a new center.
In his fourth season for the Pacers, Hibbert averaged 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He played on a deep roster, getting just 29.8 minutes per game. That lack of minutes could have harmed his seasonal averages, possibly meaning his numbers could get even better for the Blazers. That would be nice, especially if he could become a nightly double-double next to LaMarcus Aldridge.
Hibbert is a game-changer for the Blazers and someone who could become an anchor on the team for years to come. He would cost a lot of money to bring to Portland, but that may very well be worth it with the draft haul that the Blazers just made. Selecting point guard Damian Lillard and center Meyers Leonard already gives the team answers at two key positions, and if they can serve as reserves during their first professional seasons, it would make the team that much better.
I really hope that Indiana doesn't find a way to match Hibbert's deal, because he is the type of player that Blazers fans always wanted Greg Oden to become. Now that the team has moved on to a new chapter in the history of the franchise, it would be very nice if Hibbert could step in and start dominating against other centers in the Western Conference. As it currently stands, I think that the only center in the West that comes close to him in talent is Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Exciting things are coming for the Blazers, and, hopefully, this is another step toward a championship.
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*Ryan is a Northwest bred sports fan that has been a Portland Trail Blazers fan for years. He has high hopes that the Blazers can make it to the Western Conference Playoffs again next year.