Let’s Hope David West Remembers Who Really Pays His Contract

By:
Published: June 27, 2011

After learning that David West will opt out of his contract to become a free agent, there remains only one outcome which would represent an especially big win for his past employer (Hornets fans)– a long term, reasonably priced deal. The contract would signify that West has confidence in not only the ability of Dell Demps and Monty Williams to put together a winning team, but also in the efforts Hugh Weber and Jac Sperling have made to provide stability for the franchise in New Orleans.

The realities of David West as a player, taking into account his surgery

As the folks at Hornets Hype will probably tell me, they don’t care about my pretend medical opinion. That’s fair, but sometimes making little generalizations like assuming David West will not be more athletic after surgery, or that his production will probably decline, are sort of necessary in determining what the future may hold.

What do you think a reasonable deal for David West is?

West may very well prove me wrong and come back with a robotic knee capable of propelling him from one end of the court to the other in a single bound. That’s what I’m hoping for, but the past tells me that it’s more likely the he will slightly decline in a few areas. That’s how you judge the value of his future contract.

As we have repeatedly said, he’s not a guy that relies on his athleticism to score and create. Assuming he makes a full recovery, his offensive game shouldn’t really change much at all. That’s a good thing, as he had one of his best years on record in 2010-2011.

But what about defense and rebounding? Although West’s rebounding rate has remained fairly constant over the past five years, hovering between 12.0 and 13.7, those numbers are all below the average rate for power forwards this year (13.9). He’s hasn’t been a particularly bad rebounder, but hasn’t been a good one either. It’s reasonable to expect a slight decline in this area once he returns, and probably more so as he ages.

Defensively his struggles and limitations have been well documented. He’s been apathetic at times, appearing disengaged for the better part of 2009-2010, but that might not be the biggest problem. Even during his better seasons he hasn’t been a particularly effective defender, as he is physically limited in his ability to challenge larger, more athletic players. After presumably losing a fraction of a step, it’s hard to imagine that he will ever again be the defensive player he once was.

Lastly, David West is on the wrong side of 30. Some guys age better than others, but very, very rarely does anyone improve on the other side of that hill.

The realities of what could have happened if West had invoked his one year player option

Truth- The Hornets want to re-sign Landry regardless of what happens with David West. If that’s the case then guess was probably going to head into next year as the starting power forward for the New Orleans Hornets? It’s Carl Landry. He would be the one working with the team in training camp and in practice until David comes back healthy. He would be the one playing 35-40 minutes a night as the team finds itself battling for positioning throughout the first half of the year.

If Landy can get more comfortable with Chris Paul and the rest of the team, it’s a very real possibility that he will take the next step forward as a player. While right now it doesn’t seem likely that Landry could perform at a level that would keep a healthy David West out of the starting lineup when he returns, it’s certainly a possibility. In 2009-2010 Landry had a higher PER than West, and when West does return, he will certainly be shaking off some rust.

Monty Williams is not the kind of coach who is going to give David West courtesy starts or minutes if the team is winning and Landry is playing at a high level, so it’s possible that West would come back as a 6th man, sort of like Lamar Odom. If that’s best for the team then that’s what’s going to happen, no doubt about it. If West struggles in this role, or even as a starter, he could really hurt himself financially.

Additionally, West could come back and suffer an different injury as a result of inactivity or just sheer unluckiness. Sure one could argue that could happen to everyone, but think of the damage that would be done to his earning potential in particular if he was only able to play a few games, or worse, none at all, in a contract year.

The realities of David West accepting a reasonable, long term deal with the Hornets

Once in a blue moon a player has a chance to to something off the court for his fans that will have as much, if not more, of an impact than anything he has done before while on the court. This is one of those times. By saying “I’m in” for a contract that will pay him tens of millions of dollars and ensure him financial stability for the rest of his life, David West can allow the Hornets to move forward in their quest for a championship.

A while ago Michael talked about how re-signing David West was equivalent to “Stabilizing the First Domino”, and the theory is still the same post-injury. The Hornets need to show Paul that they are committed building a winning team, and what better way is there to do that than to sign his longtime teammate and close friend, David West?

It’s also no secret that getting David West signed for a fair price would be remarkably beneficial for team’s ability to improve. In the modern day NBA, it’s key for small market teams not to overpay for talent. Had West not hurt his knee, and instead performed like one would expect in the playoffs, the Hornets were likely going to have to shell out some serious dough for his services next year, hindering their chances of adding other real talent. With West presumably willing to take a lower salary than before he injured his knee, millions more could be available to upgrade the team now and in the future.

West is also on his way to becoming the longest tenured Hornets player in history. By signing a long term deal he would give himself a chance to wind up as the franchise’s all time leader in games played (he needs 242 more to pass Dell Curry), points (trails Dell by 2451), rebounds (trails PJ Brown by 879), and a number of other categories.

If he can get all those records, he would legen- wait for it- dary.

-

Let’s close with a story- Right after the team came back after Katrina I purchased tickets and started attending games. After a few visits to the Arena I decided to pick up a jersey since all the cool kids were doing it. I went down to the store, and quickly settled on a fairly cheap David West imitation. I knew that he needed the extra support since at the time Chris Paul was getting just about all the love from fans. This was back in the day when David West was the most underrated player in the league.

So I bought my jersey, and I was on the way back to my section when I noticed a table with a few Christmas wreaths on it. A woman was standing behind it, and since I’d had a few drinks in the seemingly abandoned beer garden of the early days only a few minutes prior, I walked up to the table to see what was going on. After all, I’m a charitable dude on occasion.

We talked for a few seconds about the wreaths, which had ornaments signed by each and every player on the team, and then she asked about my jersey and whether or not I was a David West fan. I said I was, and then she revealed to me that she was none other than Mr. West’s wife.

In the end she offered to give me a discount on the wreath since I was a fan, and I was happy to pay what she asked since it was a fair price. If I recall, she was happy to make a  reasonable deal with a fan who was clearly supporting her husband.

Let’s hope that David’s wife has rubbed off on him over the years.

If you’re out there, Mr. West, can you do us a solid and take a contract that assures you financial security for the rest of your life, without requiring that we give up our first born children in return?

We are, after all, your biggest fans.

-

Some quotes from the main players in all this

“David has been a tremendous player and person for us on and off the court during his eight-years with the Hornets,” General Manager Dell Demps said. “We have had open communication with David this entire season about his option and knew with either decision that our intention is to pursue David so he can finish his career as a Hornet.”

“After many months of talking with the people around me, this is the best decision for myself as a player and my future,” West said. “I love the city of New Orleans and have spent my whole career with the Hornets and am fortunate to be with such a supportive organization. I am continuing my rehab to get back on the court as soon as I can and look forward to conversations with the Hornets about my future and potentially continuing my career in New Orleans.”

“David’s rehab is progressing very well and he is excited about his return to the court next season,” West’s agent Lance Young said. “David is a very smart person and this decision was well thought out. We feel this is best for David’s career and we want to thank the Hornets for being behind David 100%.”

54 comments
L_Reazy
L_Reazy

Let's find someone else! I'd take Kenyon Martin for 2-years 10 million before I'd sign David West to a 3-year 30 million or a 4-year 32 million! L_REAZY

Hornet Seantonio
Hornet Seantonio

Poll on espn, is David West an elite forward? 72% says no......man i mean if he doesnt come back to us ill turn my back on him but that many people think hes not elite and who chris bosh is?

James Online
James Online

Here's another David West quote that gives away his plan to leave New Orleans. Everything in past tense. He "tried" and it "was" important.... The language makes it clear, like I said, he's gone: "I've enjoyed my time in New Orleans," West said. "Off the court, my wife, myself, my family, we tried to be as productive in the community as we could. It was important to us."

James Online
James Online

Here's a quote from David West's agent in Yahoo Sports today: "David wants to win, whether it's in New Orleans or someplace else," his agent, Lance Young told Wojnarowski Monday morning. "He wants a fair shot to look and see what else is out there. He loved the Hornets, but it's about finding the perfect place to win." He "loved" (past tense) the Hornets. Looking for a "perfect place to win." Would that be NOLA? Even in sheer terms of money, the Hornets have not been able to offer enough. He's gone, folks.

Hollis21
Hollis21

This is no surprise to me and shouldn't be to anyone else here. West even said, his intention when he signed that deal was to opt out at the end. I think the Mavs winning it all this year helped the cause. Because, no one had them projected and as he said in the phone interview, it's not as clear cut as it used to be. People that are jumping on the panic button need to chill out for a minute. People saying he doesn't want to be a Hornet, need to chill out for a minute. Look at this from his perspective. You can come right back and make 7.5M this year, or you can go to the open market. Whether you sign with the Hornets or another team, you make around 8-10M a year for 3-4 years. What are you taking? Honestly, what are you taking? Especially coming off an injury like this. If he opted in with the Hornets and rehab goes wrong down the stretch or he tweaks it again, he won't get paid the following year. However, if he signed a 3-4 year deal and God forbid something happened, he'd get his money. If you have half a brain you see why he opted out. If he signs with another team, I'll still love the guy. He gave some great ball to this team and our fans. I watched him at Xavier a few games and remember being so excited when we picked a guy I had seen multiple times live. To watch his career progress to this point has been pretty special. If West moves on, I won't be upset because he gave us quite a bit to cheer for. But, I still believe there's a decent chance he comes back. Fact is, that injury made it easier for us to stay in a good price range and Kris Humphries big year could cause New Jersey to bid less for his services. It will all unfold in due time. For now, I'll play my NBA 2K and take the Hornets to the title.

J
J

Trade For Odom

edbballin504
edbballin504

D West is a loyal guy and I think the idea of falling short on a ring, but being considered the all time greatest Hornet (both in opinion and in the record books with his stats) is good enough for him in the end. Obviously if CP3 stays with us forever, then CP3 will be the greatest Hornet ever, but until then it'll be West. He's close to breaking every team record. I saw someone posted somewhere online (maybe this site) where he is and where the record holders are and he's right there. 2-3 more years and he passes them easy. Demps (Hornets GM) is making West a priority so I feel they'll do what it takes to make him happy. He said many times publically that he wants West to retire a Hornet and have his jersey hung in the rafters once he's done.

J
J

They can still extend west contract by thursday but why keep a guy that doesnt want to play here.

edbballin504
edbballin504

If I am Demps I find out what amount of money West wants, say he wants 3 years/ 10 mill each year (so $30 mill total). My counter offer would be 4 years/$7.5-$8 mill. I'd explain to him how stretching things out gives him added long term security plus allows the team extra flexibility under the cap to go after other needed peices.

chiefyoungblood
chiefyoungblood

after 30 or so comments I still think Joe's point in the article is what its really about. What is the appropriate contract for David West ? Cause as it stands now the two teams most interested are Indiana and New Jersey neither of which really present a better situation than New Orleans ( at least when it comes to basketball , you know if you forget the whole NBA ownership thing ). Gotta try to make him a lifer without shackling our financial future to him . Don't have a number but I wish someone did . also can we make a rule to never mention Hilton Armstrong ever ever again .

Brandon
Brandon

Dnt think so bt you never know. It wuld have to be a three or four team trade. Dnt think we have any pieces that Memphis really covets like that

edbballin504
edbballin504

Just saw a D West phone interview on NBA TV Gametime. Sounds like he'll be back to me. I am excited. Hopefully we can bring back Landry now, then look for a solid wing. Any chance MEM would trade us Rudy Gay??? Another CP3 buddy on the team would be very beneficial.

QueenBee
QueenBee

The Hornets have 5 players under contract. There..... will ...... be ...... signings. Don't know what kind but there will be signings. I'm more interested right now in what this new CBA will be like and whether or not we'll have a season at all next season.

J
J

It seems it all narrows down on CP3 Fate he'll want to be traded unless they talk with CP3 on how to upgraded this in his and Monty's image.

Brandon
Brandon

I care about the team but what other free agent center is out there. You have to be realistic. Dell and Monty dont care how byron felt about hilton. The backup centers available are hilton, kwame brown, chuck hayes(6'6), Jeff Foster, Hamed Haddadi, Jamal Magloire, DJ Mbenga, Spencer Hawes, and alexis ajinca. Pick one. Back up center is not tht serious of a position. I care about the team deeply, dont question that. This team without dwest is FAR from a championship. Im just trying to rebuild as best as possible. Dont judge my team based off of 1 player. Hop offf

QueenBee
QueenBee

Hoopsworld: Can The Hornets Keep David West? "West Heads The Class: There was almost no doubting Hornets' forward David West would opt out of the final year of his contract, and he is expected to do just that before Thursday. His current contract, as constructed, planned for West to opt out as its value decreases from $8.29 million to $7.52 million next season. So West opting out of the final year is not a surprise, it was actually planned. West did suffer a season-ending knee injury, a torn ACL in March, and is said to be ahead of schedule on his rehab, but even coming off a knee injury West is expected to opt-out - his camp informed the Hornets today according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! - and headline the free agent class of 2011. The Hornets have been fairly clear re-signing West or getting a contract extension in under the current labor rules would be something they would work towards. However with the dollar amount West is slated to earn, there is a strong belief West can do better as a free agent both in terms of annual salary and length of deal if he opts out and hits free agency, even under what's expected to be a tighter salary system. The Hornets have had an ongoing dialogue with West about an extension, but the current labor rules only allow for the first year of an extension to be 110.5% of the salary in the last season of the contract being extended, so in West's case the best the Hornets can offer him is a deal starting at $8.30 million and his camp feels there will be that and more available on the open market. Under the current rules the Hornet's would have the ability to re-sign West as an unrestricted free agent up to the NBA allowed maximum salary using his "Bird Rights", however there are no guarantees that provision will exist in the next labor deal." More in the link. Read more NBA news and insight: http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?STORY_ID=20272#ixzz1QWjH3MUw

Brandon
Brandon

The reports are going someone is going to overpay dwest. I thnk he is a little overrated now because his athleticism declines every year. I thnk aaron gray is going to leave. Sign jeff green to be your 6th man. He could win sixth man of the year on this team. Resign landry and marco. sign greg oden and hilton armstrong. get some d leaguer. Trade okafor and a future (like a 2013 1st round pick) for Monta Ellis . Landry has to become a better rebounder. Paul/Jack monta/marco/jack ariza/pondexter/jeff green/ewing landry/jeff green/ewing Oden/Hilton/Dleaguer or european. Good team but wont win a championship. If chris paul tells you at the all star break he is going to explore the open market, trade him. I heard today that the NBA lockout will be a lottttttttttt worse than the NFL lockout. Soo, we will see if there is even a season.

QueenBee
QueenBee

We all knew West would opt out so I don't understand some reactions I'm seeing. Is it because it's officially in writing now that has some people freaking out? Did people think things would change because of West's injury? Injury or not, the guy still believes he's worth more than $7.5mil that he's supposed to get next season. He was going to opt out, no surprise.

Brazilian Hornet
Brazilian Hornet

David West is a guy who spent their entire careers getting a lot less money than he deserved. It must be very frustrating for him to receive almost half of the winning Okafor, for example. West is a professional. Let’s put ourselves in his place. While it is hard to admit, David West is absolutely right. He’s thinking of his career. He already has 31 years and wants an agreement that truly reflects the player he is. Just to give you an idea: Anderson Varejao will make $ 7.7 million this year. He will earn more than the West would win re-sign with the Hornets. I ask: There is something very wrong there, huh? David West is right. Go with God, think of the best for your career and if you have to return to the Hornets, will receive the red carpet. Anyway, good luck to him.

m_W
m_W

I'm glad West opted out. If we re-sign him now, give him what he's worth, we have him locked down when CP3 becomes a free agent. Can you imagine his contract expiring at the same time as CP3 could opt out? That would be terrifying. The Hornets' brass know there is no better PF free agent out there, and West is obviously > Landry. So, if you thought you were selling that draft pick for a reason, here it is. Pay the man.

J
J

Trade Okafor,2012 1st or 2nd rd pick for Odom and Barnes then sign Dalenbert or Jordan,Davis,Affalo,Hamed Haddadi,Delonte West,Arroyo and Leon Powe if they can re-sign landry. Then Resign Green,Mbenga. C:Dalenbert-Haddadi-MBenga PF:Davis-Odom-Powe SF:Ariza-Barnes-Pondexter SG:Affalo-West-Green PG:Paul-Jack-Arroyo

504ever
504ever

The sky is not falling. West (and Gray) opting out make financial sense. To do otherwise would limit each of them financially. We won't know even what options West (and Gray) have until after the new CBA is hammered out, whenever that is. Until them, relax.

sweetpea
sweetpea

It would be nice to have Demps, Weber or Sperling address the fans at some point very soon, given the general context of needing to generate fan interest to make the franchise attractive and keep it here. Sucks because its clear Dell's hands are tied until we get an owner, but the more hes wheeling and dealing the better it looks to fans and the better our chances of getting season tickets up. On the other hand, if players (especially marquee players) keeping jumping ship than the value of the franchise goes down and Chousest might be able to buy at bargain prices ....

J
J

Do you people think it's the begining of the end of the hornets future here in NOLA? Because who's going to buy a team with no more superstars.

Jalil
Jalil

Aaron Gray opting out too......Now i say forget trying to keep CP3 happy because now i believe his decision to leave is very clear so now Demps whats gonna happen with the roster?

JT's Hoops Blog
JT's Hoops Blog

I don't know who Chris Paul will pass to now. West is as good as gone in the Big Easy

jessek
jessek

The big question is 'can West be the second best player on a championship team?' I'd say "no." I love the guy, but he doesn't bring enough to consistently win big games (e.g. rebounding, defending, basically doing the little things that win.) Of course what's really scary is that CP3 decides he's out and doesn’t sign after this (hopefully) year or demands a trade and hurt his trade value. The Hornets brass have some big decisions coming up with the big question being "can basketball survive in NO without CP3?" Everyone knows what the fans want: a winner. I just don't see this team, with our without D. West, winning big. I hope I'm wrong.

James Online
James Online

The problem is less the facts than the rhetoric. West talks of wanting to "win big." That means, I'm not signing with the Hornets. Paul says West is like a brother and that he understands why West is leaving. That means Paul is likely to follow. Demps says he'll make his best offer to West. That's how you cover yourself when facing the inevitable. It's not a matter of money. Malone, West, Paul, even Williams after next year. Probably gone. Sad, but true.

Tooeasy
Tooeasy

Although the news of him opting out is far from ground breaking, it is always nice to make things official. Unfortunately with the potential lockout Demps and Co. still don't have any sort of concrete amount to work with in terms of thinking about free agency and salary options. The prospect of having Landry and Okafor together in the starting lineup doesn't sit great with me, simply because of the overall lack of size and rebounding, and inability to consistently get a solid mid range game night in and out from a big man. However, Landry does hustle his butt off and gets his hands dirty more than West as a whole, it's just that his skill set and physical tools really scream awesome 6th man, not starter material.

OkiThor
OkiThor

These are prepared statements with goal of getting the most money even if it is staying in New Orleans. I wouldn't read much into it. Money talks.

42
42

You think David West is both a championship quality power forward, because he isn't going to a title-ready team as they aren't looking, and a perfect grammarian? I tend to ignore all this and not try to predict future reality through a thicker than normal cloud of history. I agree on the power forward bit.

42
42

Edbnegotiatin, if the contracts are guatanteed, I'd keep it to 3 if possible. Dude'll be 34 entering year 4. Unless: ask him if he'll take 4y at 9m if we can get X. Will you take less than ideal but more than now to have a better team... Up to you... Your turn...

paul
paul

back up center is not a serious position? What? Next to the off the bench this is THE position IMO. The centers get into foul trouble the quickets and HOW their replacements perform mean IF you win or you lose. You don't bring quality bigs off the bench...you lose.

QueenBee
QueenBee

It doesn't matter how Byron felt about Hilton. Hilton sucked. He sucked on the teams he went to after the Hornets that Scott didn't coach.

42
42

Queen: You and I shop at the same stores, I see . . . I have the same article coming up in the news for the day . . .

James Online
James Online

It's not the opt out, it's the language used to describe it. Read the text and subtext of what he says: I'm gone.

NolaHog
NolaHog

I can see why everything looks bleak/scary at this point, but 504ever is right. We've talked about both West and Gray opting out for a long time now, not because of their contentment with New Orleans, but because both of them are woefully underpaid at this point. Our mindframe shifted when West got hurt, because we thought he'd take the option to stay, but if his half season coming off the injury isn't stellar, he'll lose barganing posture. New CBA or not, both players feel (as do I) that they can get a better contract if they opt out. Under current CBA rules, we still wouldn't have been able to offer West a much larger contract than the 7.5 mil/yr that he's at currently. Demps has done a solid job so far. I think we owe him some space and some benefit of the doubt. I just don't see him letting the wheels fall off this wagon.

L_Reazy
L_Reazy

I'm with you James Online ... time for the Hornets to move on and get a more aggressive starting Power Forward! I never was a big David West fan. He leaves a lot to be desired! Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, & David West is a lot stronger than ... Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, & David West! L_REAZY

QueenBee
QueenBee

Paul didn't say he understands why West is 'leaving'. Geez guys like to twist things. LOL! West may very well leave but opting out DOES NOT always mean leaving your team.

edbballin504
edbballin504

I feel D West has skill sets that wont decline with age 34. His main asset to the team is his ability to shoot the basketball, be a low post go to man, and his leadership and chemistry with CP3. He also has a great work ethic, so you know he will be ready to play year in and year out. 4 years does not scare me. I'd prefer 3 years but if the total cost is the same, why not stretch it out an extra year to make the yearly average go down? As a result we can add other players to help us win now, and D West still gets paid. Everyone is happy. Look at Tim Duncan at his age making 21 mill next year, thats insane. But D West for $8 mill at 34? I can live with that, even if by then he's a backup behind Landry or someone else.

Hollis21
Hollis21

Thanks for the link Michael. That interview is a positive sign. Him saying it's not a clearcut anymore, or however he worded it was a great sign to me. He's right. No one saw that Dallas run coming. All we can do is wait this out.

paul
paul

soory...off the bench "PG"

504ever
504ever

Greg Oden? He may never play again. And he hasn't played that much, or well when he did play.

QueenBee
QueenBee

Exactly. Hilton Armstrong? Why in the world would the Hornets do that? You know I seriously wonder if some people care about this team at all. LOL.

otherMark
otherMark

I'm with you QueenBee. I think nuance is important, and these players know it. So when CP said "I understand why he chose to opt out," that's what he meant. And with DWest saying the most important thing is to play for a team that can "win big" that is what he meant. We went through THIS issue last summer with overinterpreting CP's words. The negative implications are all over the news and forums, but there is a positive implication as well: if the Hornets can make a move that is a clear step forward toward contending for a title, then this is where he (and CP) will want to be.

James Online
James Online

Implication, not a twist. Wanna bet on the outcome of the West issue?

42
42

It's not a Peja deal, that's for sure. His ability to shoot is still there, he was just too burdensome. I don't think he's buy that same total pay thing. I wouldn't if my fat assed boss said it to me, even if he was getting me a helper with the 'savings'. More years implies more pay. Maybe not the same average, but more total. I'm not D but that's how I see it. Thanks for the detail.