You don’t find many players as consistent as David West. But coming off a major knee injury, no one knows exactly what to expect when the 31-year-old hits the court again this season. Before his injury last year, West was averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the field – second highest of his career. And if you ask him now, he’ll tell you he’s never been better.
“I’m glad they’re doubting me,” West told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. “I am going to shock folks. I have not stopped working. No vacations. No family time. No chilling. I have not worked this hard or as consistent in any point of my career, college or pro.”
But where West lands is a bigger question. New Orleans, the only city he’s ever known during his eight-year NBA career, is in a state of flux. The NBA owns them, and his fearless leader, Chris Paul, has made it pretty clear he’s looking elsewhere. Would it make sense for West to stay in the Big Easy with so much uncertainty on the horizon?
“Basically, I’m looking at the best option for the next few years of my career,” says West. “I want to win. … I’m really going to look at every option closely and make a well thought-out decision.”
With that, here are the top 5 teams most likely to sign him:
1. New Orleans Hornets
In terms of money and familiarity, a player’s current team always has the advantage to re-sign him. That’s just how the system was assembled. And even with an uncertain future surrounding the franchise, New Orleans has made it very clear that they plan to do everything they can to bring West back. Does this make sense if they’re about to enter rebuilding mode? Probably not. But when you have a two-time All-Star on the roster who gets better just about every season, those are the types of pieces you want to have in place.
2. Indiana Pacers
Moves are going to be made during this short free agency period, and the Pacers are going to have their hands in a lot of deals. With Mike Dunleavy finally off the books, it’s time to find a legit power forward to play alongside Roy Hibbert. We’ve already heard Indiana talking to Utah about the possibility of acquiring Paul Millsap, but if they can sign West outright then they’ve achieved their goal.
3. Washington Wizards
The Wizards have cap space and a desire to put winners on the roster. Both of those bode well for West. While JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche certainly have talent, they haven’t shown that they can lead. And even though Rashard Lewis is expected to stick around in Washington, John Wall needs a power forward that he can run the pick and roll with. West could be that guy.
4. New Jersey Nets
Although a report surfaced the other day that New Jersey is not interested West, free agency is a war of attrition. And if the Nets miss out on Nene, Tyson Chandler and other big names they’re pursuing, West becomes the next likely target. With free agent Kris Humphries‘ status unknown, West would certainly be an upgrade at the power forward position.
5. Denver Nuggets
By the time training camp rolls around, the Nuggets are going to have to fill out a roster. And if they lose Nene, they’re going to have a gaping hole in the middle they need to fill. With Kenyon Martin gone, the only power forwards left on the roster are Al Harrington and rookie Kenneth Faried. West brings experience and production to a group that will desperately need it.
What team do you think is most likely to sign David West?
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