NBA AM: David West Weighing His Options
David West is widely regarded as the best player in the 2011 free agent class. After opting out of his contract with the New Orleans Hornets last month, West will be an unrestricted free agent when the lockout comes to an end and he’s expected to generate plenty of interest around the league.
Teams such as the New Jersey Nets and Indiana Pacers have already been linked to West, and many more potential suitors will emerge when executives can once again communicate with players and agents. While he could still return to the Hornets, the power forward has made it clear that he’s going to weigh all of his options.
“I talked to my agent, and my whole thing is, I just want to see what’s out there,” West told David Aldridge of NBA.com. “I’m not saying New Orleans isn’t a possibility. I want to see what’s out there and I want an opportunity to win. I’ll be 31 at the end of the summer and no matter how great I feel physically and mentally, every year you don’t win is a wasted year, a blown year, an opportunity you’ll never get back. I don’t want any more of those years. I’ve played eight years. And I want the next three or four years to be different.”
While teams like Indiana and New Jersey can throw the most money at West, he’s focused on contending for a championship. He wants to play for a winner, especially after watching his former teammate and good friend Tyson Chandler hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy last month.
“Dallas getting to the Finals and winning it all, having a guy that was a part of our core just a few years ago be on that team, it did something to me,” West said. “It changed my mindset. I just want an opportunity to get on that stage.”
Chris Paul, who’s eligible to opt out next summer, is on the same page as West.
“He’s got the same mindset I have, just wanting to win,” West said.
Before West can win anything, he has to get healthy. He’s still rehabbing his torn ACL and being evaluated by Dr. David Altchek, the surgeon that performed his procedure.
With that said, he expects to be playing in the next three months. That means West would be ready for opening night, as long as the season starts on time.
“The way I’m looking at it, by October, I should be fully healthy,” West said. “When I go see Dr. Altchek in October, he should be giving me clearance to go out there and do my thing.”
Where will West be playing when that time comes? That remains to be seen.
No Bargaining Sessions Scheduled: While the NFL ended their lockout on Monday afternoon, there hasn’t been any progress on the NBA’s labor front. The owners and players have yet to schedule a bargaining session, according to sources close to the situation.
The last time the two sides met was on June 30, which was just hours before the lockout commenced. There was some talk that a meeting would be scheduled for early August, but a date has yet to be discussed.
Last Friday, staff members from both sides met to discuss lesser issues, but key figures such as team owners, NBA commissioner David Stern, members of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive committee and executive director Billy Hunter weren’t in attendance.
The NBPA’s executive committee pushed to schedule a bargaining session in early July, but were met with resistance from owners. The two sides haven’t been able to decide on a date and remain extremely far apart.
Training camps are scheduled to open during the first week of October, which means the players and owners have just 67 days to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement before preseason games could potentially be missed.
There are still many issues that need to be resolved and sacrifices that must be made, but nothing can happen if the chairs surrounding the bargaining table are empty.
Drew League Live Streaming Games: The lockout may not be ending anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t basketball to watch. In recent weeks, NBA players have been flocking to Compton to play in the Drew League and the games have been streamed live online.
The league features 20 invitation-only teams, and has been attracting notable players since it was established in 1973. Every summer, top players make the trip to California to compete in this pro-am.
LeBron James made headlines when he unexpectedly showed up and played in a game on Saturday afternoon. Thousands of fans watched him rack up 30 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks on the league’s USTREAM page.
While James’ presence attracted the most attention, plenty of other NBA players have graced the Drew League’s court this summer.
Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings, Russell Westbrook, Andre Miller, DeMar DeRozan, Tyreke Evans, JaVale McGee, J.R. Smith, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Dorell Wright, Wesley Johnson, Austin Daye, Nick Young and Ed Davis are among the players to participate in recent weeks.
Many of the teams feature college and streetball players, but that doesn’t matter. The Drew League is offering basketball fans all over the world the chance to watch NBA players compete, which is something that nobody else can say at the moment.