Will Indiana Sign David West?

Starting next week, we will begin an in-depth examination of this summer’s free agent class. Given the lockout and the uncertainty surrounding what contracts will look like in the future, this entire endeavor will be difficult. But mostly we will be discussing the guys that are available and how they might fit.

Given the George Hill trade, and just what we’ve seen from the team’s big men in recent seasons, the Pacers need for front court help is paramount. And with Roy Hibbert theoretically entrenched at center and Tyler Hansbrough still unproven as a reliable starter in this league, power forward is presumably the area ripest for a talent infusion.

Coincidentally, it just so happens that David West opted out of the final year of his contract with New Orleans. He has said he wants to play somewhere that he can contend for a title, but we have heard that story before from many players who soon after sign wherever the best offer surfaces. Realistically, West is a player who has “only” made around $40 million in gross salary so far in his career and is presumably both looking for a final pay day and just as worried about his long-term future coming off of knee surgery as any GM who signs him will be.

So if we can assume that he indeed wants to sign for what most would agree is his market value (about $10 million per year under the old CBA), the three most likely destinations who can afford and have the need for the two-time All-Star are New Orleans, New Jersey and Indiana. A few other cities may be in play, but those three stand out. And since he is the only marquee power forward in this year’s free agent class (other than Thaddeus Young, who is restricted and likely to remain in Philadelphia), it stands to reason that some team will throw some money at him.

Will it be the Pacers? They reportedly will pursue him.

As noted, we’ll dive into this fully next week. But for now, I discussed this very topic with the good chaps who run Hornets247 the other night. They know him better than anyone and offer some interesting insight into a guy who may be a Pacer next season — whenever it starts.

Here’s that podcast. Go listen.

I put the odds of DWest becoming a Pacer at around 50/50 but also question the logic of rolling the dice on a 31-year-old coming off significant knee surgery. I just think it’s too big of a risk if you have to invest $45-50 million. We also discuss former Hornet Darren Collison’s first year in Indiana, which, if you were watching, was fairly underwhelming.

How much of the 17-Foot Assassin’s productivity was predicated upon the amazing creativity of the Hall of Famer pictured here on the left? How will he, at 31-years-old, recover from knee surgery? And most importantly, how much are the Pacers will to pay to find out?

Topics: Chris Paul, Darren Collison, David West, Free Agency 2011, Hornets247, New Orleans Hornets

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  • Dave

    West has been a very good player, and may continue to be that, but he is the exact opposite of what the Pacers need. He is essentially an offensive stretch 4, that plays below the rim. The Pacers need a defensive 4 that can play above the rim. Defense has been the Pacers biggest liability the past few years. They may not be able to acquire the ideal player, but spending just to spend is not the answer.

  • David

    Yeah, I agree about West not being the answer. Hopefully, the Pacers remember that cap room is still a valuable asset when trading with teams that need to shed payroll and that it is very likely a lot of teams will need to do so under the new CBA. If we can’t get the right player who can help us contend in free agency, we need to wait and see what we can do later. After all, it’s not like we’ll be contenders next year, anyway.

  • Tom

    I disagree Dave. Yes West is a stretch 4, but with Hibbert and Foster (if back), and Paul George’s continued development, do we not have shot blocking? Our defense was actually one of the areas we improved in most last year, so I don’t think that’s the issue. In my opinion, offense was our biggest problem. Granger shot poorly all year, Dunleavy was out a lot, Collison did not give us as much as we’d hoped for, and Hibbert went through a long offensive slump. I believe we need offensive help more than defensive. West is one of the most consistent offensive forwards in the game, and sure we could use some more low post scoring, but if Hibbert continues to develop on the block, then West provides the perfect compliment in someone who can extend the defense and open up the lane, not only for Hibbert, but for guys like Granger, George, Collison and now Hill.
    He’s risky given his age, knee injury, and the length and size of contract he’d command, but you know exactly what you’d be getting, and he’d provide another consistent 15-20ppg scoring option, who shoots it very well (including FTs), and provides help on the boards. He’d also provide a much needed veteran presence with playoff experience in the locker room.
    If we believe we can contend in the next year or two (which given how we played Chicago may not be a stretch), then he has to be seriously considered. If we don’t believe that, then move on and save the cap space for someone else.

  • http://www.dialogocr.com CRJoe

    Ok, new guy here, and I’ll start with a questionable statement…

    I agree with Ted on the fact that our biggest need is consistent offense, and a go-to guy in crunch time… That’s why I’d much rater trade for Al Jefferson than sign West… West is older, his injury is far more recent, and would have to be signed for around 5 years (or whatever the new CBA allows as max time)… Also coming out of an injury, and playing out of position as a 5, Al Jeff scores just as well as West, if he goes back to a bit under his old form he is a legitimate 20 ppg scorer…

    Besides he’s never been given the chance to play next to a legitimate center, and he is very efective at keeping 4′s out of the paint, West would be a much bigger defensive liability…

    I guess the biggest issue would be if he would fit next to Hibbert, although I do believe that being the third or fourth scoring option is just what Roy needs, less pressure and selective plays where he can get the ball in his sweet spots, for everything else get the ball in Danny’s or a legitimate post threat hands…

    With that being said the question would be, what could we deal to get him??? The Jazz want a long term replacement for Harris, and couldn’t get a PG on the draft, I guess Hill would be enticing to them but he can’t be traded till Mid december (on the current CBA)… They also have the need for a scoring 2 guard, so Rush may be a good chip, but besides that I guess we would have to involve someone else, take some salary back, or drop a few picks…

    PS: If we were to sign West as a FA, I’d much rather sign Nene, bigger, more athletic, great defender… And that frontcourt would be a hell of a matchup for ANY team in the league, even Dallas & L.A.

  • BRANDON

    Nene over West. Hibbert isn’t as physical as he should be and adding Nene who is a banger would definitely help the Pacers inside game. Now he wouldn’t be as effective as West in the pick n roll game but coming off an ACL, and what his price tag going to be due to the lack of talent this off-season. It’s not question I’d rather have Nene.

  • Tom

    Don’t disagree about Al Jeff, but he’s not a FA. So sure, if we can get him via trade, I’m all for it. But West is available now, so all I’m saying is we have to look at him, IF (and only if) we believe we can compete to win the East in 2012 or 2013. If we don’t think that, then as I said we move on and save the cap space for someone else (possibly Jefferson via trade).
    Not sure how easily Jefferson could be obtained though. Wouldn’t Millsapp be a more realistic target if we’re talking about using Rush plus some picks?

  • Michael

    “He’s risky given his age, knee injury, and the length and size of contract he’d command, but you know exactly what you’d be getting.”

    Tom, I don’t know what your infatuation is with West. But this quote from your post pretty much sums up the exact reason why we SHOULD NOT sign him. The three big risks are exactly why you don’t want a player like him. And I cut off the end of your quote because I don’t agree at all. You don’t know “exactly what you’d be getting” because he will be on a new team, new system, new coach, bad knees and old age. How can you say you know “exactly” what you’d be getting after all that? Signing David West would be a horrible mistake that I pray we don’t make. After all this rebuilding and waiting, the last thing we need is someone like West to eat up 10-12 mil a year and might be out of the league in 3 years.

  • Jake

    So um, didn’t you guys say, “starting next week” three weeks ago about looking at the free agency… Yeah, leaving me hanging. Just kidding, keep up the good work.

  • Caleb

    Finding this article two years later and seeing that people wanted Nene… HAHAHAHA If only people knew how valuable David West would be to the Pacers ‘swag’ and his physicality in the post none of these comments would have been made!

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