Loss of Hibbert would be tough for Pacers fans to stomach

July 2, 2012
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The Indiana Pacers find themselves in a tough predicament.

At a press conference last Wednesday, new president of basketball operations Donnie Walsh called re-signing 25-year-old center Roy Hibbert “a top priority.”

Over the weekend, the Portland Trailblazers offered Hibbert a max four-year $58 million contract.

While the small-market Pacers have been extra thrifty in recent years to get the franchise on better financial footing, Hibbert will be a tough player to let go.

The Pacers also have to be concerned with re-signing George Hill and prospecting for free agents that can help take the team to the next level.

Not only has Hibbert turned into an all-star on the court, he’s also turned into a fan favorite who has been as active as any Pacer in this community off the court.

Hibbert’s work for the Children’s Wish Fund and other charitable organizations in this town is well-known.

Two years ago, Hibbert founded Area 55. He bought 55 season tickets and hand-picked the 55 loudest Pacers fans to place in the section inside Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Hibbert regularly talks to the crowd in Area 55, throws them private parties and has even been known to take them to the movies. It’s difficult to put a price tag on that type of personality and presence in the community.

Hibbert, a Georgetown alum, is no small reason for the Pacers resurgence, and may be the biggest reason why the local community has started to re-embrace the team.

Because Hibbert is a restricted free agent, the Pacers can match any offer to keep him. When Larry Bird was in charge, Pacers Coach Frank Vogel was confident that was going to happen.

“Of course this isn't going to be [Hibbert’s] last time in Indy, he’s not going anywhere,” Vogel said at one of Hibbert’s charity events last month.

“I love our team so much, there’s such a great positive chemistry and any time you see any of those guys, it just lights up,” Vogel added. “We’re going to get every single one of them (free agents) back. The Pacers are going to shoot for the moon.”

Shooting for the moon can cost a lot of money, and it’s not clear now whether team owner Herb Simon and the new management staff has the stomach for such spending.

Pacers fans are about to find out how high a “top priority” is under Walsh. If it turns out not to be high enough to retain Hibbert, the Pacers might find fan support is deflated significantly next season.

  • Act
    Hibbert a nice guy? What a bunch of bunk. I was on a flight to NYC last year, and he was too cool to talk To a lady in line while waiting for his bags. She was not pushy or anything, just casual chit chat. Obviously he was too big a star to be bothered. His good press is all manufactured by his handlers. Just like all the others, from first hand experience.
  • Roy Hibbert
    The Pacers will sign Roy. What choice do they have? They can't go into the season with Miles Plumlee as the #1 center.
  • Always interesting to read stories like Todds. Even more interesting to hear Hibberts side of the story. I can't imagine Roy may be a little tired and not ready to be "on" after a long flight and he is waiting for his luggage. I am not sure about him, but there are times you don't want to be bothered. I agree that Roy is important to sign, but we have seen what happens when you tie up a lot of money in one player and then they do not perform.
  • We will see.
    You could see this coming...centers are too hard to come by, especially ones who get better every year, work hard and are good teammates...someone was going to offer a max deal and call the Pacer's on how serious they are about keeping him. So now we find out if they have the will to match the Blazers' deal...and then still pay for George Hill who supposedly wants 8-9 million. My guess is there is not money for both of them, but we will see (and I am guessing Hill gets the short straw if that is true). By the way, sorry Todd... Roy is a good guy...your one time observation is simply that...it is not a history. People make assumptions without knowing about immediate circumstances or other background or personal situations that may be pertinent. I hope the Pacers sign Roy...I like George Hill as a player and want to keep him too, but doubt he is the answer as full time point guard, so if I have to let one guy go, local ties or not, George is the one. Maybe it wasn't Larry's back and shoulder that caused him to leave after all...
  • #55
    Todd, I think you are being a little hard on the young man. He has done a lot more than most this early in his career - you can't characterize a guy by one experience. No one is perfect, maybe he was having a bad day. I sat across from A. Davis once on a flight and he was so uncomfortable due to his height that he barely said a word and I believe Antonio is a pretty good guy. Hibbert needs to be signed for a lot of reasons but mostly that this team would digress without him and that would be unacceptable. We also need to keep Hill. Granger seems like the odd man out in the "new Pacers" - still shoots too much. He needs to be traded to make room for a maturing Paul George. Just my opinion.

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  1. I think the poster was being sarcastic and only posting or making fun of what is usually posted on here about anything being built in BR or d'town for that matter.

  2. Great news IRL fans: TURBO the IMS sanctioned movie about slugs running the Indy 500 has caught the Securities and Exchange Commission because Dreamworks had to take a $132MILLION write down...because the movie was such a flop. See, the Indy/IMS magic soiled another pair of drawers. Bwahahahahahaha! How's CARTOWN doing? HAHAHAHA...Indy is for losers.

  3. So disappointed in WIBC. This is the last straw to lose a good local morning program. I used to be able to rely on WIBC to give me good local information, news, weather and traffic on my 45 minute commute.Two incidents when I needed local, accurate information regarding severe weather were the first signs I could not now rely on WIBC. I work weekend 12 hour nights for a downtown hospital. This past winter when we had the worst snowfall in my 50 years of life, I came home on a Sunday morning, went to sleep (because I was to go back in Sunday night for another 12 hour shift), and woke up around 1 p.m. to a house with no electricity. I keep an old battery powered radio around and turned on WIBC to see what was going on with the winter storm and the roads and the power outage. Sigh. Only policital stuff. Not even a break in to update on the winter storm warning. The second weather incident occurred when I was driving home during a severe thunderstorm a few months ago. I had already gotten a call from my husband that a tornado warning was just southwest of where I had been. I turned to WIBC to find out what direction the storm was headed so I could figure out a route home, only to find Rush on the air, and again, no breaking away from this stupidity to give me information. Thank God for my phone, which gave me the warning that I was driving in an area where a tornado was seen. Thanks for nothing WIBC. Good luck to you, Steve! We need more of you and not the politics of hatred that WIBC wants to shove at us. Good thing I have Satellite radio.

  4. I read the retail roundup article and tried Burritos and Beers tonight. I'm glad I did, for the food was great. Fresh authentic Mexican food. Great seasoning on the carne asada. A must try!!! Thanks for sharing.

  5. John, unfortunately CTRWD wants to put the tank(s) right next to a nature preserve and at the southern entrance to Carmel off of Keystone. Not exactly the kind of message you want to send to residents and visitors (come see our tanks as you enter our city and we build stuff in nature preserves...