The Indiana Pacers have jumped into the race for Shawn Marion's signature -- competing with LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers -- by hosting Marion on a visit to Indianapolis, ESPN.com has learned.

Marion met face-to-face with Pacers president Larry Bird Monday, according to sources close to the situation, after Bird urged the free-agent defensive specialist and former All-Star to come to town to consider signing with Indiana in the wake of the devastating compound leg fracture suffered by Pacers star Paul George.

Heading into Monday, the Cavaliers were widely considered to be the front-runner to sign Marion, despite the fact that Cleveland is restricted to offering him a minimum salary of $1.4 million after using all of its cap resources and exceptions elsewhere.

The Pacers ultimately will be granted a $5.3 million disabled player exception by the league in the wake of George's season-ending injury suffered late last month on Team USA duty, so Indiana does have the means to outbid Cleveland. But the Pacers would stray into luxury tax territory if they spend more than $1.7 million of that exception.