Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 6/20/12

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert was one of the breakout players of this year’s playoffs. Hibbert will be a restricted free agent this offseason and since the talents of a true center are hard to come by these days, he’ll surely be on the radar of a lot of NBA teams.

Hibbert was on the radio in Indianapolis and said he likes the direction the Pacers are heading, but said he’d like to see some effort if he’s going to stay.

“I would love to return to the Pacers,” said Hibbert. “From what my agent is telling me it’s just a matter of them stepping up and getting the deal done. I can’t speak too much about it, but I know as the days are getting closer to July 1st I will be thinking what is best for my family and myself.”

Hibbert was then asked if he would take a “hometown discount” and stay in Indiana for less money. He dodged the question, not committing either way.

To me, he sounds like a guy who is going to take the biggest contract offered. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. He earned his money this year and he’s shown he can be one of the big players in this league. If the Pacers don’t want to offer him what he thinks he’s worth, and another team does, then he should go.

On the Pacers’ side of things, I think they should match whatever offer Hibbert gets (within reason, of course). Indiana has developed a great team dynamic and they need to do all they can to keep their core intact. They gave the Miami Heat a real scare in the playoffs this year, and if they can come back even stronger next year, they may be on their way to building something great. The Pacers sort of came out of nowhere this season to be one of the NBA’s big surprises, next year that won’t be the case. They have a chance to step up to the level of the Eastern Conference elite, but they won’t do that if they let one of their essential pieces walk out the door.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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