With the sudden misfortune that the Indiana Pacers have been dealt with, most recently the loss of Lance Stephenson (free agency) and Paul George (injury), it brings an array of questions for everyone involved in the organization.
Even the players.
And it makes things a bit more fuzzy for one Roy Hibbert. After a close to a season to forget, things continue to get worse. He won’t have his first option, or even second option to play beside anymore. Hibbert now becomes the focal point of the Pacers offense, and at this point I’m not sure if he can even deliver under those type of circumstances.
If last year’s playoffs were any indication, the answer to that is no.
But, honestly, that’s not even that big of a factor.
Hibbert has the opportunity to opt out of his deal with the Pacers after this season. He has an opportunity to throw his hat into the free agency class of 2015.
[via Basketball Insiders]
It’s possible that Hibbert opts out of $15,514,031 to secure a long-term deal, but how he plays this season will obviously impact his decision. If he plays like the dominant, DPOY candidate we saw in the beginning of last season, he could get a big payday. If he plays like the player we saw in the postseason, he should opt in because teams won’t be lining up to make offers.
But, if he does, it’ll have nothing to do with his fortune on the basketball court. It’ll have everything to do with what future the Pacers have in front of them.
We live in the age in which the players have all the power, utilizing free agency as their major tool.
Let’s play the hypothetical game.
What if Paul George doesn’t come back as the player he was before. What if he can’t simply recover, similarly how Danny Granger has struggled to return back to form? Does Hibbert stick around for that?
Now, let’s play the honesty game.
Is Hibbert really a “franchise” type player in this league? No.
Does he believe he’s a “franchise” type player in this league? No.
If he really believed that, last season’s playoffs wouldn’t have happened. You can’t have so little confidence in yourself and still be the face of the Pacers.
There’s still a whole bunch that has to play out before the end of next season’s decisions need to be made, however, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that we cross the road of next season with the Pacers in a worse situation than this summer.
Hibbert can dictate his future, soon. He’ll be able to have all the power. Question is, will he take that route?
While it’s not easy to turn down $15.5 million, Hibbert can maneuver his future with one simple move.
Could we see him opting out? Sure.
Should he do it? Depends.
Will he do it? Probably not.