David West was almost a Celtic, and that would have been a good fit for Boston — a pick-and-pop big who can stretch the floor, a former All-Star who would have given the Celtics depth and another way to put points on the board.
But instead he chose to sign with the Pacers. That set Ray Allen off, and he claimed that West was chasing the money rather than the rings.
West says Allen is full of… well, he actually said it more nicely than that to Conrad Brunner of Pacers.com.
“What they’re dealing with up (in Boston) is a lot deeper than David West,” he said after practice Thursday. “When I was figuring out what I was going to do, everybody that knows me knows I’m a thought person. I don’t rush to judgment and the decisions I make are well-thought-out. This was a well-thought-out decision on my part.
“There’s a reason why I’m in Indiana and not anywhere else. This team is young and deep with some really good pieces. And it’s deep.”
Ray Allen was out of line from the start here. Allen learned West was interested in coming to the Celtics from his private banker while the two were playing a round of golf at Augusta. Seriously. If you and your private banker are hanging out, you don’t get to call out people on money issues.
Second, Allen never took less money for a ring — he got traded to Boston mid-contract. He made $16 million the first year he was a Celtic. He did re-sign there but with an eight-digit salary. So again, no calling anyone else out on money issues.
To me West made a good call. With West, the Pacers are going to be a pretty good team, an improving young team. The kind of team Boston may want to avoid in the first round of the playoffs.
David West is a Pacer, a big pickup for an Indiana team that barely scrapped into the playoffs last year. They picked up an All-Star power forward who is as good a pick-and-pop big as there is in the game.
But West was almost a Celtic and would have been key to their run at a ring with the big three.
In the end, West chose two years, $20 million from the Pacers over three years, $29 million from the Celtics (it was a complex sign-and-trade that got slowed down because the Hornets didn’t want Jermaine O’Neal back, and we can’t blame them). Ray Allen doesn’t get West’s choice and spoke his mind to ESPNBoston.com.
“Once it got down to the end, I think his ego kicked back in,” Allen said. “He wanted the dollars. I guess it comes down to ‘What is a championship worth to you?’
“Think of all the guys who have made $20 million and could be considered one of the best ever, but they get chided because they never won. We [the Big Three] all had to do less when we won. We’re still taking less to make it work. But it’s worth it. No one can ever say to KG, Paul or me, ‘You guys never got your ring.'”
We don’t know what went into West’s decision — money, lifestyle, that he saw the Pacers as a team with potential down the line. But to call out a guy’s championship heart is pretty harsh.
And as Tom Ziller reminds us, Allen didn’t take less money to come to Boston, he was in the middle of a five-year deal and made $16 million in 2008. He signed an extension at $10 million per.
Ray Allen has just reached the cranky old man phase of his career and is holding nothing back.
David West to the Boston Celtics made some sense — not a perfect fit but the best player on the free agent market the Celtics could seem to get. Rajon Rondo was going to love having one of the best pick-and-pop bigs in the game to work with.
Instead, Darren Collison is going to love having David West around.
The deal to the Celtics fell apart and the Pacers have stepped in with a two-year, $20 million deal to get West, according to Adrian Wojnarowski with Yahoo. West had spent his entire career with the New Orleans Hornets, where he and Chris Paul were as good a pick-and-pop tandem as there was in the league.
This is a blow to the Celtics, who are looking to add some scoring to a lineup of veterans that can certainly defend but need a little something more to knock off the Heat and Bulls now. West would have been a step in that direction.
On the flip side, this is a smart move by Larry Bird. Yes, West is coming off knee surgery that had him miss half the season, but this was not a guy who plays above the rim anyway. He is the stretch four the Pacers were looking for (see Dunleavy, Mike), someone that will work well with Collison and Danny Granger. Roy Hibbert will like having him as the other big, and you get to bring Tyler Hansbrough as a scorer off the bench. It’s a move that makes the Pacers better.
And at a fair price — $10 million a year for a two-time All-Star (2009 most recently) who you can count on for 19 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. Consistently. That is an upgrade for the Pacers who are not contenders but just got better at a reasonable price.
Larry Bird has as much cap space as anyone and he just sat back, waiting out the market and pounced on a good deal when it presented itself. Well played, Mr. Bird. Well played indeed.