May 31, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT
David West was an All-Star power forward twice while playing alongside Chris Paul in New Orleans, but has flown under the radar since then in his time with the Indiana Pacers over the last two seasons.
This year, West has approached that level again with averages of 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds on a team that is giving the defending champion Miami Heat everything they want during the Eastern Conference Finals. West’s play, along with his team’s position in playing so far into this postseason, has him once again beginning to be recognized as a game-changer at his position.
West is a free agent this summer, and has indicated that he’d like to come back to the Pacers next season. But if that should change, or the dollars end up being too tempting to pass up, he will have other teams lining up to try to retain his services.
What’s most remarkable is that West has been so effective for Indiana this year, at age 32. After the knee surgery—in addition to playing with a new team in a reduced role—West averaged 12.8 points last year, his lowest output since his second season in the NBA. He came back strong this season, though, averaging 17.1 points and shooting 49.8 percent.
That’s why, when that two-year deal he signed with Indiana runs up this summer, West will be a hot commodity despite his advancing age. The Clippers are prepared to make him an offer, and according to a source, the Hawks could make him a priority, too. Should Memphis move Zach Randolph, West would be a natural fit there as well.
Again, West is expected to return to Indiana — the fit there is solid, and he gets to play for a team on the rise that’s appreciative of what he brings.
But like that of many other free agents this summer, West’s name will be an interesting one to watch.
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