Saturday 25th May 2024,
The Hoop Doctors

Will the Pacers Re-Sign David West?

David West’s return to the Indiana Pacers isn’t etched in stone.

The 32-year-old power forward had a phenomenal regular season, averaging 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds on 49.8 percent shooting. He was a big part of what the Pacers did and remains as vital a cog as there is in their attempt to unseat the Miami Heat.

While it seems cruel to focus on the future when Indiana is zeroed in on the present, it’s a necessity. West will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and though the Pacers want to bring him back, they could be forced to make the most difficult of decisions.

West will be 33 by the time next season rolls around, making it difficult to gauge his value, especially on a relatively young team like Indiana. The Pacers could certainly use his veteran presence in the locker room, but at what cost?

According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, it may take up to $13 million annually to keep West in Indy.

If that seems absurd, that’s because it is.

Sure, West has continued his strong play in the post season—16 points and 7.7 rebounds per game—but again, he’s going on 33. He also only made $10 million this past season. Rarely do you see a player at his age, making what he his, receive a raise of that kind.

It’s not as if the Pacers can’t afford him. They have just under $49 million on the books leading into next season, so they could give him, say, three-years and $36 million and not even come close to crossing the luxury-tax threshold. The question is, should they want to?

Personally, I love West. He’s incredible. And what he’s done in Indiana is more impressive than most give him credit for (the fever performance in Game 6?!?!?). The Pacers don’t stay as grounded without him. It’s as simple as that. Paul George is still young and Roy Hibbert needs a fixture in the post he can lean on when he can’t perform up to snuff. And during the regular season, he struggled frequently. West was a necessity.

I’m not so sure West is a necessity moving forward, though. Not at that price. Should he agree to a one-year deal maybe, where they pay him $13 million, then perhaps I’d change my tune. In that scenario, he would be expensive, but present minimal risk. One year and the Pacers could walk away if they needed to.

But that’s not going to happen. West has had too good a year and is at the point in his career where you don’t take one-year deals. Not when there will be teams lining up to offer multi-year pacts. Which means the Pacers may have to let him go.

Any team that offers West $36-$39 million over three years is taking a risk. Will his knees hold up? Will his age catch up with him? Can he perform at this level for much longer?

A three-year contract means that West would be 35 upon its conclusion. While that’s not the most unsightly of ages, it has the potential to be when that player is making well over eight figures a year and has a history of knee issues.

For the Pacers, that’s a situation you walk away from. If that’s how much West will cost, you bid him adieu. You can’t jeopardize that much future financial flexibility on someone his age. You just can’t.

Of course, that’s assuming that West nets that much this side of the CBA. I don’t believe he will. That just seems like too much for any team to willingly offer, the Pacers included.

Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.

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