He is a 10-year NBA veteran but is not slowing down, his old-school game built on guile and guts as effective as ever. All David West has done in 19 playoff games over the past six weeks is prove as much, night after night after night. Which is why he is expected to be in such high demand come July 1, when the Pacers power forward becomes an unrestricted free agent. For team President Donnie Walsh and General Manager Kevin Pritchard, re-signing West will likely top their summer to-do list. To hear it from West, his teammates and coach after Indiana’s Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night, one thing was readily clear: Nobody — West included — wants him in a different uniform next season. “I’m not (expletive) dumb,” West told The Star after a 99-76 loss ended the Pacers’ season. “I don’t plan on going anywhere. This is my team. These are my guys.” It’s not hard to understand why Indiana so badly wants him back. Since signing him through free agency before the 2011-12 season, West has been the perfect fit for a young Pacers core desperate for the sort of veteran leadership that has been the backbone of his career. “David West is a big part of our team,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Our intent as a franchise is to bring back our whole core.” But doing so is never so easy. West’s market value will be determined by the teams chasing him during the free agency period, and his age, he’ll be 33 in August. He is coming off a two-year, $20 million deal. West slid seamlessly into the starting lineup in his first training camp and became the ideal low-post companion to Roy Hibbert; West’s deft midrange jumper stretching the defense while the 7-2 Hibbert manned the low block. On the other side of the ball, his brute physicality helped transform the Pacers’ defense from mediocre to tops in the league. He showed his young teammates the ropes of the professional game. He is the quiet but respected authority in the locker room, the player with the steadying hand that goes about his business without a flash of ego.
Pacers forward David West: 'I don't plan on going anywhere'
Indianapolis Star | Jun 5