FRIDAY, 9:56am: The Wizards are making a hard push for West, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Spurs are still very much in the picture for him, but the Warriors have become “highly unlikely,” Stein adds in a second tweet. The ESPN scribe said Wednesday that the Spurs and Wizards were his most likely destinations. Washington has only the $5.464MM mid-level exception to spend unless it can work a sign-and-trade.
THURSDAY, 9:35am: David West is seriously interested in playing for either the Spurs or the Warriors, a source with knowledge of his situation told USA Today’s Sam Amick. Playing for one of the last two NBA champions would jibe with the reason he turned down his $12.6MM player option with the Pacers, as he explained Wednesday to Bob Kravitz of WTHR-TV in Indianapolis, telling him that he wants a legitimate chance at a title that he feels the Pacers can’t provide. He also said to Kravitz that while the team’s open criticism of Roy Hibbert wasn’t the deciding factor, it also played a role in his choice to leave Indiana.
“That’s one thing where I wish they would have handled better was the situation with Roy,” West said. “I’ll be honest with you, that bothered me a little bit, and I told Roy that. I’m the type of guy who feels like we’re all in this fight together and I’m not designed in that way to put it all on one guy. That did rub me the wrong way. That threw me off. I started reading some of that stuff, I started thinking, ‘Whoaa.’ I just didn’t feel good about that. I told Roy that it bothered me, that he’s still my teammate.”
West was open-minded at the end of the regular season about returning to Indiana, but as he watched the Finals on TV, he decided winning was a greater priority, as Kravitz detailed. The Pacers still have West’s Bird rights, but he doesn’t sound keen on re-signing, and it doesn’t sound like he’s Knicks-bound, either. He called the rumor that he was likely to sign with the Knicks ridiculous, citing his desire to play with a contender, Kravitz tweets.
The Spurs have maximum-level cap flexibility as they seek LaMarcus Aldridge after agreeing to trade Tiago Splitter to the Hawks, and while West probably wouldn’t command the max, he may well be a fallback option for San Antonio should it miss on Aldridge or Marc Gasol. The Warriors have only the $3.376MM taxpayer’s mid-level exception to offer. It’s not clear if either team has interest in the Lance Young client.