UPDATE: Wednesday, July 10, at 1:20 p.m. ET by Brandon Galvin
The Indiana Pacers announced the re-signing of David West:
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Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports originally reported West and Pacers were finalizing a three-year, $36 million contract that will likely keep him in Indianapolis for the remainder of his prime:
The 32-year-old power forward has spent the last two years with the Pacers.
West's career journey is a classic underrated-to-overrated-back-to-underrated story. For much of the initial prime of his career, West was Chris Paul's right-hand man with the New Orleans Hornets. The duo ran a never-ending series of pick-and-pops, with West knocking down 18-footers and bullying his way into the paint en route to making two All-Star teams.
However, injury issues with Paul and the incompetence of New Orleans' supporting cast derailed the duo's promising future. Paul was shipped off to the Los Angeles Clippers, while West agreed to a two-year pact Indiana—a move that would reinvigorate West's career.
That was especially the case this past season, where West helped spur one of the more memorable Pacers runs of this decade. The regular season featured West return to his customary 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds a night, as opposing teams fell victim to his mid-range jumpers and shoulder-to-the-stomach post moves. Indiana was over nine points per 100 possessions better with West on the floor than when he was on the bench, per NBA.com.
But it was the postseason where West again made his bones. A vital cog in Indiana's Eastern Conference Finals battle against Miami, West and Roy Hibbert represented the heart of what coach Frank Vogel was emphasizing. Hibbert got the most pub and rightfully so, but West was right there as a team leader, his toughness resonating with Pacers players and fans.
It's that toughness and versatility that Indiana hopes can last for the duration of this deal. Though guys like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan have proven a power forward with a consistent mid-range game can withstand the natural atrophy age provides, West will still turn 33 in August. He's a player you can count on for consistent production for now, but remember his 2011-12 season was the most forgettable of his prime.
History says that's an outlier. West's 2012-13 numbers and performance fall far more in line with what a natural decline would suggest, and Indiana brought him back to be an effective contributor, not a star.
They brought in David West, the emotional leader and versatile big man whose game fits perfectly with this system. Even if the deal winds up being a bit of an overpay, it's something the Pacers will more than live with considering West's performance history.
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