The mission for the Indiana Pacers’ front office this summer mirrors what it was a year ago: Keep the core players together. Last July, the team paid a combined $98 million to keep a pair of starters, Roy Hibbert and George Hill, in Indiana uniforms. The focus this time? Do the same with David West. Donnie Walsh, the team’s president, and Kevin Pritchard, the general manager, expressed their desire to re-sign West, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, in a Thursday morning news conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Simply put by the Pacers’ brass: West is priority No. 1. “We want him back as much as you can want anyone back,” Walsh said. “We think he’s one of the anchors of this team.” The interest is mutual. West was clear with his feelings following Indiana’s Game 7 Eastern Conference finals loss to the Miami Heat earlier this month. “I’m not (expletive) dumb,” he said. “I don’t plan on going anywhere. This is my team. These are my guys.” West, who will be 33 in August, is coming off a two-year, $20 million deal he signed with the Pacers before the 2011-12 season. Beyond West, the Pacers have unrestricted free agents in Sam Young and D.J. Augustin. Walsh said the team’s goal was to bring everyone back, though he’s aware that’s unlikely. There is also, of course, a bench that sorely needs upgrading. “We’ve earmarked certain areas that we need some help in,” Walsh said.
Indiana Pacers executives say top offseason priority is keeping free agent David West
Indianapolis Star | Jun 14