Report: David West declines player option with Pacers
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The 17-Foot Assassin is ready for his next contract.
The decision comes as a bit of a surprise, as West's option for next season was valued at $12.6 million. While he may be able to earn that amount in guaranteed money with a long-term deal, he's almost certainly leaving money on the table in annual terms.
The Pacers had fully expected West to opt back in, and they may have accidentally stumbled into appreciable cap space here. Even if Roy Hibbert opts in as expected, the Pacers could move into upwards of $12 million in cap space - maybe not enough to land a star, but enough to add to an already decent core. With Paul George returning, the No. 11 pick incoming, and that decent chunk of space, Indiana could be much improved in 2015-16.
Losing West still hurts, and it's possible he could try to re-sign with the club on a longer deal. But this feels like an indication West is leaving, as the 34-year-old would be doing his team an awfully big favor by walking away from a payday that could be double his new salary.
If West leaves, he should find ample suitors. He averaged 11.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists last season, shooting 47.1 percent from the field while providing solid defense at the four. He can't stretch the floor to the 3-point line, but remains an effective pick-and-pop threat with a deadly elbow jumper. Factor in his veteran leadership and strong reputation, and it's easy to see several contenders reaching out with the mid-level exception.
Over 12 NBA seasons, West has averaged 15.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists, making two All-Star teams and appearing in the playoffs six times.