David West Signs With the Pacers for Two Years, $20 Million

Larry Bird has waited. And waited. And waited. All the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard drama has dominated the lime light. Guys like Tyson Chandler, Thaddeus Young and Andre Jordan have gone to other, more aggressive bidders. Nene and Jamal Crawford have been wined and dined by others.

And Bird just sat there watching from the sidelines.

Until now — when David West, who was unable to find a team willing to give him a longer contract for the salary he demanded, fell into his lap. The Pacers just got a near-All-Star forward who was a marquee free agent to sign an unheard-of two-year deal. At a reasonable salary.

This is the critical, savvy, beneficial aspect of the signing by Larry Bird. It’s just an unbelievable deal for a team in the position that the Pacers are in. Any GM, regardless of his geography or current roster makeup, can get some free agent by throwing around piles of money. But Bird refused to play by anyone else’s terms, sticking to his guns about not overspending just to make an acquisition that would generate positive headlines. He wanted to make sure the deal made sense for the Pacers both in 2012 and 2014.

When free agency began, it seemed a distinct possibility the team that signed David West would be signing either get a great bargain or future albatross. People expected West to get a deal around $40 million over four years. And since he is coming off a major knee injury, that would either be entirely reasonable or a huge mistake. It would be one — but couldn’t be both. Somehow, Larry Bird, by signing West for $20 million over twos years, added a third possibility. He split the difference. And while West might not bounce back to his old self, this should always be considered a good signing.

Now the team is cluttered with good to excellent players on reasonable contracts.

There isn’t another team in the league that can claim that.

Tags: David West Larry Bird New Orleans Hornets

  • http://www.theshortfuse.com Brohan_Cruyff

    Great signing, for so many reasons. Great job by the front office to keep from throwing a suitcase of money at somebody; this was the most prudent course of action. Well done.

  • Deepu S

    HUGE signing by Bird…..he is on a total roll over the last year starting with the Collison move. Bring in Crawford and let’s make a run!!

  • Tom

    Firstly wanted to say what a great signing this is by Bird. This instantly makes Indiana relevant in the East again.
    Secondly I’d like to know why when I suggested targeting David West back in June or July, I was criticized for it on this very blog. Seems a little hypocritical to now praise the very signing you were against due to West’s age and knee surgery. But I’ll take the high road and focus on the positives here.
    If we can pull off that McBob for Mayo deal as is rumored on ESPN.com, we are legit Eastern Conference contenders in my opinion, only we’ll do it with team play rather than signing 3 all stars to the one team. Pure basketball, which is fitting for Indiana. GO PACERS!

  • Ian

    This was a genius deal because of the length/price. I was worried the Pacers were going to get West for like a 4 year deal and be stuck with him as he aged, possibly prematurely from his injury. This is really low risk. And echoing Tom, if they can snag Mayo, things are really looking up.

    It’s amazing to think of how much Bird has been criticized over the years as a GM but the reality is that he’s done an impressive job in a nearly impossible situation.

  • Realist

    PG Collison, Hill
    SG Mayo, Jones/Rush
    SF Granger, George
    PF West, Hansbrough
    C Hibbert, Foster

    Agree with the above sentiments. I’d rather go for Mayo than Crawford though – and the McBob sounds like it still has legs. List is starting to look very decent.

    “This was a genius deal because of the length/price” = bullseye

  • Steven

    No way Mayo starts at the 2. That’s George’s position, because of his size and competence to play and guard the position make him a mismatch nightmare for other teams.

    Also, watch out for Pendergraph, he’s on Tyler status for his hustle. He has huge potential for a longer Pacers career, similar to the raw J. O’Neal we got a few years ago. What a great sight it would be to to see, maybe just for a few minutes, Pendergraph, Hansbrough, and Foster knocking people *cough LeBron* around.

    PG: Collison, HIll, Stephenson/Price
    SG: George, Mayo, Rush/Jones/Hill
    SF: Granger, Rush/Jones/George
    PF: West, Hansbrough, Pendergraph
    C: Hibbert, Foster, One of the 4 huge D-League guys we signed.

  • http://www.okaymentary.com Tim

    Score one for competency.

    Is it possible that, when all the current mess has been sorted out, that a smart, patient basketball mind (Bird’s) ends up handily winning this off-season?

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