David West rolled the dice.
He was maybe the best free agent power forward on the market, a fantastic pick-and-pop partner for an elite point guard. The kind of guy that a lot of teams with cap room — the Pacers, the Nets — could use. A guy the Hornets want back… more like need back if they plan to keep Chris Paul next summer.
He’s also a guy who blew out his ACL. That will give teams pause when handing out big contracts. So he took a big risk opting out of the final year of his deal and testing the market.
The good news is West told David Aldridge of NBA.com he’ll be ready to go come October, when training camps would start. If there are October camps this year.
“The way I’m looking at it, by October, I should be fully healthy,” West said Monday morning. “When I go see Dr. (David) Altchek in October, he should be giving me clearance to go out there and do my thing.”
As Aldridge notes, the rehab West is doing five days a week and that trip to Dr. Altchek are now paid by West out of his own pocket — his insurance from the league is locked out, too.
If the lockout does cost games, it could benefit West in terms of proving he is healthy to prospective teams. What kind of prospective teams? West wiped out a $7.5 million option year on his deal, so he expects to get paid, but he also sounds like a veteran who is starting to think legacy and rings more than bank account.
“I talked to my agent, and my whole thing is, I just want to see what’s out there,” West said. “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.”
He will be a prime free agent. Whenever we get around to that.