JUNE 30TH, 1:12pm: The Pacers didn’t receive paperwork indicating that West would opt in by Monday night’s deadline for him to do so, so he has officially opted out, the team confirms, as Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports reports (Twitter link).
JUNE 24TH, 2:07pm: David West has decided to turn down his $12.6MM player option, reports Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). President of basketball operations Larry Bird wouldn’t confirm the report, telling Buckner that he hasn’t spoken with West or agent Jeff Austin (Twitter link). His choice gives the team the chance to open the cap space necessary for a legitimate run at Monta Ellis, in whom the Pacers reportedly have interest.
Mystery had surrounded West’s intentions with the option, just as it does with Roy Hibbert, who possesses a player option worth more than $15.514MM, though Pacers coach Frank Vogel said this spring that he had a gut feeling that West would opt in. That proved incorrect, and now West, who turns 35 in August, is free to seek out a new team or see if he can pry more salary, a longer deal, or both from Indiana.
The Raptors reportedly pursued West via trade at the deadline, and Toronto still appears to have a need at power forward. Indiana appeared reluctant to part with him as it chased a playoff berth last season. Bird has made it clear he wants to change the team’s style of play to a more up-tempo attack, and while he seemed to push Hibbert to opt out, it would be tough for the Pacers to implement a small-ball style if Hibbert opts in and West re-signs.