San Antonio Spurs power forward David West will decline his player option for the 2016-17 season and take some time to assess his playing future, The Vertical's Shams Charania reports, citing sources.
West memorably eschewed $11 million last summer in order to get a taste of San Antonio Spurs culture and, he hoped, an NBA championship before the curtain dropped on his fine playing career. Ahead of his age-35 season, he turned down a $12.6-million option with the Indiana Pacers, and signed with the Spurs for the minimum. He made $1.5 million in 2015-16, and his option would've paid him $1.55 million next season.
Choosing the Spurs meant not just a pay cut, but a fairly significant role reduction for the esteemed veteran. He played just 18 minutes per game for the Spurs, the fewest he'd averaged since his rookie season in 2003-04 and nearly 11 fewer than he averaged with the Pacers the season prior. His per-game numbers (7.1 points, four rebounds, 1.8 assists) were likewise his lowest in over a decade, though on a per-36-minute basis, his production was nearly identical to his 2014-15 output. His true shooting percentage (57.3) was actually the highest of his career, and he was a key contributor to the league's best bench unit.
And the Spurs, through 82 regular-season games and seven playoff games, performed about as well as West could've hoped when he made his fiscally irreverent decision. They finished a franchise-best 67-15, posted the seventh-best point differential in NBA history, and looked poised to challenge the record-breaking Golden State Warriors for Western Conference supremacy. Instead, they lost three straight games to the Oklahoma City Thunder to get bounced from the second round of the playoffs. All told, they won just three more playoff games than the Pacers.
There's no telling whether West would've opted in for 2016-17 if things had turned out differently, but he insisted last month that he had no regrets about his decision.
"I'm good, I'm really good," he said. "This was a good situation for me."
Now, he's a free agent once again, with another season's worth of tread on his already well-worn tires. He's clearly still got game left, and with the cap set to spike, he can land a deal that will blow away the figure his option would've paid him. A year ago, he sacrificed a ton to try to capture an elusive ring. What will he do this time?