In the group of remaining free agents, David West might be the most intriguing name because of the development leading him into this situation. West will likely end up with one of the three super-early favorites to reach the NBA Finals: San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.
The soon-to-be 35 year old power forward opted out of his final year with the Indiana Pacers, leaving $12 million on the table. A combination of disdain for the way the Pacers have handled things and the team stepping away from contender status led West to go seek another championship contender, even if it means making a lot less money than the Pacers had coming for him or with a lot of other teams, like the New York Knicks.
West wants to win. He has never played in the NBA Finals, losing on his two trips to the conference finals with the Pacers, both times to the Miami Heat. He’s no longer the All-Star caliber player he was during his years in New Orleans next to Chris Paul and is declining quite clearly over the last couple of years, but he’s still very useful player to have and might be one of the last true, old-school power forwards.
West according to reports wants the Spurs or Warriors badly to sign him, but the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have mostly been busy keeping their own players with some huge re-signing deals, are pushing aggressively for West. One thing the Cavs lack is the recruiting power of LeBron James on this case as he still hasn’t signed back with the team, but that might not keep West from making the inner-division switch.
Both the Warriors and the Spurs, presumably locks to make the Western finals and decide who goes to the NBA Finals, could make very good use of West, even in a much smaller role than he had with the Pacers. While he’s not the kind of forward who can play both the ‘3’ and the ‘4’, in certain variations of the small ball, West can be the center, which makes sense in the way the Warriors ran things during the NBA Finals.
West averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while playing 28.7 minutes a night, missing 16 games. He’s a very good long range two shooter and a pretty decent finisher near the rim, although his mid range game, the “worst” shot in basketball, isn’t too smooth. He’ll be very useful in both his ability and his experience to any team that signs him and doesn’t try giving him too big of a role.