NBA Sunday: Free Agency Awaits David West
The 2013 free agency class will be headlined by All-Stars Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum next summer, but the crop figures to be a deep group at every position well beyond the headliners.
One of the players expected to attract plenty of attention from executives around the league in free agency is Indiana Pacers forward David West. The veteran is in the last year of his contract, a two-year $20 million deal, signed in December 2011. The last time West was in this position he was in the process of recovering from a torn left ACL suffered at the end of the 2011 campaign.
One of West’s primary objectives this season is to prove to everyone his knee is fully recovered after working his way back most of last season.
“I feel like I’m in pretty good shape as far as my health” West said to HOOPSWORLD. “I feel one hundred times better than last year just coming off the knee surgery.”
West, 32, is at the age where most frontcourt players start to decline but the veteran has been hot to start the season averaging 16.7 points and 8.6 rebounds through the Pacers’ first seven games.
Given his age and recent knee injury West knows the microscope is focused on his game more than ever, but he says he won’t let his uncertain future become a distraction.
“I’m just trying to have a productive year,” West said regarding his goal headed into free agency. “I don’t really base my play on what’s out there looming. I just try to go out do my job and stay focused on the moment and what we have to do to right now.”
The Pacers already have $57 million in committed salary on the books for the 2013-14 season, after new deals for Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi and Gerald Green were reached this past summer. Emerging forward Paul George could potentially test the market at the end of the 2014-15 campaign as well, making the need for the small market Pacers to keep an eye on expenses on the top of their agenda.
While West wants to be a Pacer long term he acknowledges there could be financial challenges, which stand in the way. For now West wants to concentrate on winning games, believing the rest will play itself out at the appropriate time.
“It’s one of those situations,” West said when asked if he wanted to remain in Indiana long term. “My main objective is to try to win [here]. I feel like this group has an opportunity to do that. Obviously with Danny [Granger] out it changes and makes things a little more difficult for us this year, but again we feel like with the group that we have and with Danny at full strength we can compete.”
The Pacers will be without the services of former All-Star and leading score r Danny Granger for the next three months as he nurses a knee injury. Indiana will need West’s production during this time to stay in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff mix.
Amar’e Stoudemire Health Update, Late December Return Possible
The New York Knicks have surged out of the gate to start the season, opening the campaign at 4-0 without a key piece of their lineup in action. Forward Amar’e Stoudemire has been unable to go due to a nagging knee injury and the team has been keeping the progress he’s made during rehab close to the vest.
According to head coach Mike Woodson the veteran’s knee is responding well to treatment but he wouldn’t divulge much more information beyond that nugget.
“He’s not on the bench sitting, but he’s back there getting treatment every day,’’ Woodson said to Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News. “I don’t think he’s on crutches at all. He’s walking all right. I just see him on the table getting treatment. I ask him how he’s doing and I keep moving.”
Stoudemire is expected to return to the lineup sometime in December, the latter portion.
What is still up for debate is Stoudemire’s role in the lineup upon his return as the Knicks are currently clicking on all cylinders and Carmelo Anthony is thriving at the power forward position.
One possibility, which has been floated around is utilizing Stoudemire off the bench as a sixth man upon his return. Stoudemire hasn’t played in a reserve role since the 2007 season. Entering his eleventh year in the league, Stoudemire has served as a reserve in just seventeen out of his 641 regular season contests.
T’Wolves’ Brandon Roy Out Due To Knee Soreness
After a brief retirement, the Minnesota Timberwolves signed former All-Star shooting guard Brandon Roy to a two-year $10.4 million deal this past summer. Roy, who has battled chronic knee pain for the majority of his pro career, decided to hit the comeback trail in the hopes that a lesser role in the nightly rotation could alleviate some of wear and tear.
Roy was a scratch from the lineup on Saturday due to a sore right knee according to T’Wolves head coach Rick Adelman. Fans may react strongly to the latest news of another member of Minnesota’s roster going down to injury, but Adelman isn’t too worried at the moment calling it a day-to-day situation.
“I have no idea,” Adelman said according to Scott Powers of ESPN on the length of time Roy will miss. “It’s just the soreness, and it’s best not to try tonight. Just take it day by day. He bumped it a few weeks ago. It’s the same knee. You know the guys that have had the knee problems he’s had or anybody who had knee problems, you’re going to have things where you step back a little bit. So I’m not going to be overly concerned right now.”
Roy has appeared in five games for the T’Wolves this season and is ninth on the team is scoring at 5.8 per contest. However, it has been the veteran guard’s leadership on the floor, which has helped Minnesota the most. Roy’s 4.6 assist per game output leads the team and filled an area of need with starting point guard Ricky Rubio on the shelf recovering from a knee injury of his own.
Adelman knew Roy would miss time in spots this season given the condition of his knees, but wasn’t sure when he would get the news.
“We knew it could be a situation where he wouldn’t be playing (at times this season),” Adelman said. “But we didn’t know when it was. We just had to go and try to play him and take it day by day and see how he’s responded. So far since the start of training camp he’s been pretty good. Hopefully, it’s just a minor setback. I certainly expected him not to go all the way through the whole time (this season).”
Now the question is can the T’Wolves keep up the momentum without Kevin Love, Rubio and Roy in the lineup. The team is currently 4-2, tied for the third best record in the Western Conference.
HOOPSWORLD TV: Tyler Zeller
The Cleveland Cavaliers made an aggressive move to acquire North Carolina product Tyler Zeller on draft night, giving up multiple draft picks to trade up for him. He’s now a part of a talented young core that also features Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. HOOPSWORLD caught up with Zeller recently to talk about his transition to the NBA and more in this latest edition of HOOPSWORLD TV.