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David West opts out of contract, hits free agent market

Jun 27, 2011, 10:36 AM EDT

Phoenix Suns v New Orleans Hornets Getty Images

If this were any year in the last five, what David West is doing would be a no brainer.

But this year, heading into a lockout followed by a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, he is taking a risk.

David West has told the New Orleans Hornets he is opting out of the final year of his $7.5 million contract and will test the free agent market, Marc Stein reports at ESPN. While he is saying all the right things about winning, this is about the money. It’s always about the money.

The question is, how much money will be out there in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement? He will get a multi-year deal now, at how much money is the gamble. While teams are interested, how much cap room teams have — especially good teams — remains to be seen. Teams mentioned as potentially making a run at him are New Jersey, Indiana, maybe Milwaukee. You can bet the Hornets will try to re-sign him as part of the “we have to keep Chris Paul happy” campaign. Others will jump in as well, but it really depends on what they can offer.

West missed the last half of last season due to a torn ACL, although he says he will be back healthy by the start of next season. Even if it takes longer than that, a lot of teams would be willing to take the risk because he is one of the better scoring power forwards in the game.

He averaged 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season, and he is one of the better pick-and-pop options in the league, hitting a very good 47 percent of his shots from 16 feet out to the arc. As the roll man in a pick and roll, he hit 52 percent of his shots and scored an impressive 1.05 points per possession (according to Synergy Sports), but of course the guy with the ball was Chris Paul, which helps. He also is effective as a spot up shooter and in the post.

But the question isn’t “can West play?” because we all know he can. The question is can and will teams offer more than $7.5 million for him?

  1. jizzojames - Jun 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    He’s a good pick-up for whoever gets him. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes!

  2. aboogy123456 - Jun 27, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Pretty risky move and I think he’s pretty overrated. A solid forward but he really benefits from chris paul creating all those open shots for him. He really needs to end up with a top pg in my opinion to be effective.

  3. ac0117 - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Risky move coming off a bad injury and into the CBA situation. Good luck to him but like the commenter above me I think he benefited greatly from playing with Chris Paul (not saying he’s bad, but those numbers might be a little inflated – see Okafor)

  4. iplaybingowitholdpeopleandwin - Jun 27, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    D West is talking about winning like he’s Charlie Sheen. Duh Winning! Really, he’s a good scoring forward but only last year did he begin rebounding and playing D. The Hornets made it to the first round this past year and gave the Lakers a bit of a fight even with a weak roster. The Hornets could be better with him in the fold…this isn’t about winning, it’s about him making money. He picked up his play in a contract year. Next year he’ll be back to his old ways.

    • mytthor - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:48 PM

      Seriously, the Charlie Sheen joke is over.

      Also, David West has never been a good rebounder, but last year wasn’t even a good rebounding year for him. The year before his average was down a tenth of a rebound, and the three years before that his average was higher. Are you just making this shit up?

    • r0llinginthedeep - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      He only started rebounding and (at least making an attempt at) playing D this year?

      You’re watching Basketball wrong.

  5. teke184 - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:10 PM


    The idea is that New Jersey will pay him a ton of money to play alongside Deron Williams. I think they figure he and Deron can recreate the pick-and-pop offense that West and CP3 ran so well.

  6. chargerdillon - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Decent player coming off a knee injury putting all his chips down that he’ll be back to 100% sounds exactly like what i just said, putting his chips down…MAJOR GAMBLE.

    Bad teams looking to get better will take a chance on this guy. The good teams for the most part dont have money to gamble on him or arnt foolish enough to do so.

    If this guy was a real superstar prior to his injury, he might get more looks, but I can’t imagine a big rush for a guy with a bad knee who will never be more than a #2 on any court including his last one.

  7. zackd2 - Jun 27, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    “The question is can and will teams offer more than $7.5 million for him?”

    The question is he was guaranteed 7.5m next year, does he want to wait and risk another 365 days before he can get a multi-year deal? Or does he want to get paid now?

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