For a while there, in early December, it really seemed like David West was going to be a Boston Celtic. When you consider that he’s an aging, yet successful veteran who is coming off a major surgery, it seemed like a perfect fit. Boston loves those kinds of guys.
All the Hornets and Celtics needed to do was dot the T’s and cross the I’s and West was going to be headed to the C’s. Sure, the sign-and-trade was going to be tricky — and the Celtics weren’t going to be able to offer quite as much money as West was seeking, but that’s OK because he’d still be making millions of dollars, is coming off an injury and will have a shot at another big contract — but it was going to happen.
Then, suddenly, David West was inking an offer sheet from the Indiana Pacers, a young team that’s a few years away from competing and has three talented guys who can play power forward on the roster. ‘Twas a curious move, which is exactly why Ray Allen is dogging him out for chasing an easy payday. From ESPN:
Count veteran Ray Allen among those who can’t believe West chose Indiana over Boston with such a slim difference in compensation.
“I’m shocked,” Allen said. “I don’t understand it.” [...]
Allen first heard of West’s potential interest in Boston last month when Allen was playing golf in Augusta with his private banker, who coincidentally also handled West’s financial affairs.
“He told me how much I would love [West], that he and I were the same kind of guy — cognitive thinkers,” Allen said. “He said West was interested in coming to the Celtics and would be willing to come for less.”
So why does Allen think West had a change of heart?
“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?’
You don’t often see that blatant of “this guy is in it for the wrong reasons” comments, but Ray Allen went there. From a guy who’s usually quiet, friendly and only seems like he’s only sneering all the time when in reality he just has flared nostrils, this is quite the accusation. All it’s missing is a “David West is dead to me” to really complete the thought. Pretty harsh.
But I can’t say I disagree. As much as Tas Melas might love the Pacers, they’re not challenging for a title this year. Or next year. Or maybe even the year after that, when David West has presumably moved on. At age 31, with an appearance in the conference semifinals the greatest success he’s enjoyed, it’s easy to assume that West would want to chase a ring. No one’s saying signing with the Celtics makes that happen, but it’s far more likely than playing with the Pacers.
Then again, as Skeets mentioned a while back, this is a good move for David West. It’s a short, lucrative contract where he can prove that his knee isn’t bothering him and still enjoy one more nice deal before he really starts chasing a ring. Can’t fault a guy for getting paid while he still can.
Plus, as it turns out, this might be the beginning of a new and beautiful rivalry. The Celtics thrive in the role of agitators, so beefing with the Pacers might be a nice way for them to reinvigorate all their old dudes. At the very least, it’ll be fun for us to watch two of the nicest guys in the league snipe at each other through the media.