David West To Opt-Out And Test Free Agency

Hornets forward David West will enter free agency

It was announced today that New Orleans Hornets power-forward David West will opt-out of his contract and test free-agency despite suffering a serious knee injury. Marc Stein broke the news on ESPN.com:

Despite suffering a season-ending knee injury in March, New Orleans Hornets power forward David West is expected to opt out of the final season of his contract this week and become a free agent, according to sources close to the situation.

The Hornets, sources said, would still love to sign West to an extension before Thursday’s deadline. But it’s believed that West — even in a financial landscape forecasted to be more restrictive starting next season and even factoring in his injury — will eventually earn more in free agency than he could in an extension that would have to be calculated with next season’s $7.5 million salary as a starting point.

Free agency will be delayed if the NBA, as expected, imposes a lockout July 1. But sources say only an unforeseen rehabilitation setback in the next 72 hours would change West’s plans.

This is yet another step back for Hornets management in what has been a very unsuccessful off-season. West has been a Hornet for his entire career, but it’s no doubt that he wants to get pampered to. Every player wants to see what free-agency is like, to be wanted. Dell Demps has said since the very beginning that retaining West and Landry was his top priority this offseason, and it appears that is still the case.

West will most likely want a 4 year 40 million dollar deal, but who is really going to offer it to him, after coming off a serious knee injury? This seems to be a serious risk on West’s part because not only is there the knee injury problem, there’s also the big issue of CBA negotiations and the likely lockout. If a lockout were to be put into effect then free-agency would never begin.

What does this mean in the big picture? Well if West decides to sign elsewhere we (as Hornet fans) can kiss Chris Paul goodbye. I still think New Orleans has a very realistic shot of resigning West, but if he decides to sign elsewhere the Hornets are effectively in ruins.

This is terrible news and I should probably take a few steps back from the ledge, but I can’t help but get more and more depressed about this team because they haven’t shown anything from an organisational stand-point to reward the loyalty shown by fans (and the 10,000 season ticket holder mark).

What makes things that much worse is when the lockout is put into effect we as fans will be left in limbo as no tangible news of West’s decision will come until it ends (which could be a year from now it looks like).

So Hornets fans, I advise to take two or three steps back, and remember that at least we have football.

Tags: Chris Paul David West Dell Demps New Orleans Hornets

  • lucas

    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.

  • dathrone

    I hold West in really high reguards. After Dirk he is the most consistent mid-range shooting 4 in the league. I really didn’t see him opting out. Honestly I don’t think an under-appreciated 31 year old vet coming off major knee sugery staring in the face of players salaries being cut will get him the payday he rightfully deserves. So even though he is opting out I’m confident we can still resign him.

    With that said I don’t think Paul’s future with the team is tied to West. He is after all coming off of a major knee sugery and is 31. If we don’t resign him we need to re-sign Landry and it really puts more pressure to go out and make moves. Failing to sign West isn’t the end, but it does make every move that much more important. And once again dealing Okafor just becomes IMO that much more important.

    Paul wants to be on a team that will compete while he’s in his prime. We are more then lately of having that happen with the right new CBA. At this point I’m not sure signing West long term is conducive to competing with Paul in his prime. All reports say West will miss a go bit of the season if it starts on time, and there’s no telling how long it will take for him to get back to 100% if he ever will. Now that I’m thinking about it maybe it’s time to move on from West?

  • Chris Trew

    David West will go to play in Oklahoma City.

  • Cris

    @Dathrone…I agree with what your saying but this offseason its all about acquiring that one single player that will get CP to sign an extension. And Bringing back David West is part of that process because CP & D-West are brothers. Demps needs to do whatever is needed to get that star first scoring option, that will take giving up future 1st Rnds and gutting the team abit but you can always Reload easier when you have a high Quaility 3 players to build around because FA are more likely to come to ur city. I think we are a good chance to bring David back because the teams that have the cap space to sign him are not ahead of us as far as competing for a title, if David wants to go to Orlando for instance he would need to ask for a sign and trade.