David West wants a ring. Badly.
Last year he gave up $11 million to leave the Pacers and join the Spurs, and while he played well for them as a big off the bench, the Spurs didn’t get that ring. He chose to opt out of that contract before free agency started, and in this market he could have made eight figures because of his skill and highly-valued locker room leadership.
He is joining the Golden State Warriors and not taking the big checks to do it, as first reported by David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT.
The veteran minimum for West is $1.55 million, with the league picking up a chunk of that (the Warriors will pay out less than $1 million). That doesn’t change the basics with this signing.
Last season West’s minutes and raw numbers went down as he transitioned to a reserve role, but his efficiency went up. He averaged just 7.1 points and four rebounds a game, but he had a career-best true shooting percentage of 57.3 percent, and he shot a career-best 42.9 percent from three because of the good looks he was getting. He was simply getting better shots — last season he took 48.7 percent of his shots inside 10 feet of the rim (up from 35.7 percent his last season in Indiana). He’s a pick-and-pop threat with a good midrange jumper, and he’s a physical on-ball defender. He’s not the force he was seven years ago, but he’s still a quality NBA player.
The bottom line: The Warriors just added an above-average NBA player for the veteran minimum. This is what other teams feared would happen — good players taking less to chase a ring with the Warriors. Golden State got a good deal with this one.