JULY 10TH, 1:50pm: The Pacers have officially re-signed West, the team announced today in a press release.
JULY 2ND, 12:01pm: West and the Pacers have agreed to terms, according to TNT's David Aldridge, who says the deal will be worth slightly more than $36MM (Twitter link).
11:46am: The Pacers are working to finalize a three-year contract agreement to bring David West back to Indiana, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). In recent weeks, Pacers brass had frequently referred to West as the team's top offseason priority, and there appeared to be a mutual interest in a new deal.
West, who is represented by Octagon Sports, is coming off a two-year, $20MM deal with the Pacers, and will be in line for an increased annual salary after two successful seasons in Indiana. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the two sides are discussing a three-year, $36MM pact, which figures to include a third-year player option.
West, who will turn 33 in August, averaged 17.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG to go along with a 20.1 PER in 2012/13, anchoring a Pacers team that pushed the Heat to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals this spring.
We heard yesterday that the Pacers don't plan to become a taxpaying team "for any reason." The team headed into July with about $50MM in salary commitments for 2013/14, so assuming the club finalizes a deal with West that will pay him $11MM+ next season, and agreed to a modest salary for C.J. Watson (perhaps in the neighborhood of $2MM), the club should have about $7-8MM in wiggle room below the tax line.
The Knicks have an interest in Carlos Delfino and Aaron Brooks, who were waived by the Rockets earlier today, tweets Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Brooks also has interest (Twitter links) in signing with New York and it helps that he is represented by CAA, the same company that represents J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony. Here’s more from around the Association..
- It’s appearing less and less likely that J.J. Redick will return to the Bucks in free agency, league sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
- The Pacers‘ top priority in free agency remains re-signing David West, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Sources say that a meeting is expected soon, if not tonight, then tomorrow.
- Andrei Kirilenko is a free agent again, but Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter) cautions that AK is not a fit for the Jazz right now based on the dollars and years it would take to sign him.
- The frontrunners for Gigi Datome are the Celtics and Grizzlies, according to an Italian report passed along by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The small forward was named Serie A Regular Season MVP and ended the year averaging 16.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 48 games.
Echoing what we've heard out of Indiana for weeks, team president Donnie Walsh told reporters, including Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star, that re-signing David West this summer is "priority number one" for the Pacers.
"We want him back as much as you can want anyone back," Walsh said. "We think he’s one of the anchors of the team."
Here's more from around the Eastern Conference:
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald brings us a few more details on the decision facing Doc Rivers, writing that the Celtics coach is torn between wanting to carve out a long career with a single franchise and worrying about losing effectiveness if he remains too long in Boston. Multiple sources tell Bulpett the odds are still "overwhelmingly" in favor of Rivers returning to the C's.
- From GM Joe Dumars to advisor Phil Jackson to owner Tom Gores, there was no dissension when it came to the hiring of Maurice Cheeks as the Pistons' new head coach, Dumars told reporters today (Twitter links via the Detroit Free Press).
- ESPN.com's Marc Stein is hearing that Cheeks would like to add former Thunder colleague Rex Kalamian as the top assistant on his Pistons staff (Twitter link).
- Jason Kidd spoke to Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News about entering the next phase of his career in the NBA, and coming "home" to the Nets.
- In addition to talking to Lawrence Frank and others about joining Kidd's staff in Brooklyn, the Nets have talked about pursuing longtime NBA assistant Dave Wohl, says Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
After taking a 2-1 lead and eventually losing to the Heat in last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Pacers made Miami sweat a little more in this year's Eastern Finals, forcing a Game Seven last night. The Heat won the game comfortably, but the Pacers still impressed in the series, and look like they'll be a perennial force in the East for the foreseeable future. With Indiana's 2012/13 season now in the books, here are a few of the morning's Pacers-related stories:
- We've been hearing for months that David West would like to re-sign with the Pacers this offseason, and he strongly reiterated that point last night, speaking to the media. "These are my guys, I can't see myself going anywhere else," West said, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com. "We're the second best team in the Eastern Conference, one of the top four teams in the league this year. This group is a solid group. It gives me as an individual the best chance to accomplish the goals I have left [and] that's competing at this stage every single year from here on out."
- Mannix speculates that the Pacers could shop Danny Granger and his expiring $14MM+ contract to create more room to re-sign West, noting that teams looking for a short-term wing solution and future flexibility would have interest in Granger, assuming he's healthy.
- Sean Deveney of the Sporting News also addresses West's free agency, writing that teams like the Clippers and Hawks figure to pursue the veteran forward this summer.
- Paul George has one more year remaining on his rookie contract, meaning he'll be extension-eligible this offseason. Asked by Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida if he sees himself as a maximum-salary player, he replied, "I would hope. Max guys get the job done at this time (the playoffs)."
- In his NBA AM piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler examines some offseason decisions facing the Pacers, including West's free agency, a possible extension for George, and the potential departure of assistant Brian Shaw. Kyler also notes that Granger's knee issues may scare off potential trade partners, meaning there's a very real chance the forward is still a Pacer in the fall.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein passes along a few notable tidbits in his latest piece for TrueHoop, including word of a potential Clippers target, a Phil Jackson update, and some items on the coaching front. Let's dive in and check out the highlights….
- "Whispers are already swirling" that the Clippers intend to make a hard run at free-agent-to-be David West, says Stein. West and the Pacers seem to be mutually interested in a reunion, and Indiana will have the ability to offer West much more than the Clippers could, barring a sign-and-trade. But Stein points out that if West's old teammate Chris Paul re-signs in Los Angeles, the Pacers forward figures to be interested in at least listening to a Clippers pitch.
- The Nuggets remain confident that they'll be able to hang on to Masai Ujiri, despite rumblings that the Raptors may offer him an annual salary of $2MM+. Ujiri had reportedly been making about $500K with the Nuggets, according to Stein, so he appears in line for a raise no matter which team he ends up running.
- According to Stein, some league observers "remain convinced" that Phil Jackson's flirtations with various teams are designed to convinced Jim Buss to cede his organizational power with the Lakers to Jeanie Buss, which could allow Jeanie to bring Jackson aboard to run the team's basketball operations.
- Part of the reason the Nets' coaching search has been moving slowly so far is that two of the team's top potential targets remain active in the playoffs — Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins and Pacers assistant Brian Shaw. Stein adds that Ettore Messina, who is rumored to be a candidate for the Hawks, isn't on the Nets' list.
- While the Nets and perhaps the Clippers appear to have interest in Hollins, the Grizzlies appear determined to lock him up to a new contract once their season ends, says Stein.
History was made this morning, as Jason Collins publicly came out as the first active male athlete to announce that he's gay. Collins, who hopes to continue his playing career, will be a free agent this summer, looking for a contract from a team in need of frontcourt help. In his latest piece for HoopsWorld, Steve Kyler looked at a few other big men facing free agency, exploring what their respective futures might hold. Let's check out the highlights….
- Andray Blatche is still being paid by the Wizards through next season, so he won't necessarily be seeking the highest salary offered this summer. However, if he can secure a multiyear deal, he may lean toward that opportunity, says Kyler.
- Although he's eligible for restricted free agency, Austin Daye is unlikely to receive a qualifying offer from the Grizzlies. Kyler doesn't expect the ex-Piston to be back in Memphis next season.
- Carl Landry remains likely to opt out of his last year with the Warriors in search of a longer-term contract.
- The Pacers won't hold full Bird rights on David West, but West's Early Bird rights will be more than enough to make him a competitive offer. Kyler thinks West and the Pacers are likely to work out a deal fairly quickly that will keep the power forward in Indiana.
- Kyler notes that trading Danny Granger would help give the Pacers the flexibility to bring back both West and Tyler Hansbrough, who is eligible for restricted free agency. Kyler expects the Pacers to issue a qualifying offer to Hansbrough and match any reasonable offer.
- Antawn Jamison is unlikely to re-sign with the Lakers, and if Earl Clark returns, it will have to be for not much more than the $1.24MM he made this year, says Kyler.
- Boris Diaw, who has a player option, and Matt Bonner, whose deal is only partially guaranteed, both figure to be back with the Spurs next season. However, Kyler says DeJuan Blair is "done in San Antonio," which echoes what we heard yesterday.
His impending free agency isn't drawing the headlines that players like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Josh Smith are receiving, but David West will be hitting the open market this summer after two seasons with the Pacers. If it's up to West, he and the Pacers will reach an agreement that keeps him in Indiana, as he tells Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports Florida (Sulia link).
"Oh yeah," West said. "For what I want to do in terms of this point in my career, I want to win and Indiana is going to give me an opportunity to win and compete. And I enjoy being around this group of guys."
West is in the second and final season of a two-year, $20MM contract with Indiana. There's reason to believe that the 32-year-old should land at least a similar deal as an unrestricted free agent this July. Although he saw his scoring average dip last season with the Pacers, he's upped it from 12.8 PPG to 17.5 PPG in 2012/13, and has recorded a career-high 20.8 PER to date. West has also been remarkably durable, starting all but one game for the Pacers over the last two seasons.
Having committed long-term money to Roy Hibbert and George Hill, and with Danny Granger under contract for one more season, the Pacers have about $49MM in guaranteed money on the books for 2013/14. That should still leave plenty of room to re-sign West without approaching tax territory, depending on who else the Pacers want to add or bring back.
With the trade deadline behind us, some teams are already looking toward this summer's free agent class. Here is a roundup of the latest buzz on that front: