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?

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

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