Delonte West: Worth the Trouble?

Noah PintoContributor IAugust 4, 2010

As expected, Minnesota waived recently acquired guard Delonte West, whose $4.6 million salary was only guaranteed for $500,000. 

Much has been made of West's struggles over the past year. 

He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  He plead guilty to weapons charges.  Rumors swirled about an affair between him and LeBron James's mother.

Not surprisingly, his play on the court suffered.  Being released by David Kahn—a man who has never met a backup point guard he didn't love—is just the latest indignity.

But Kahn's move was largely for financial reasons.  West simply isn't worth paying $4.6 million.  But forget about money: Is Delonte West worth a roster spot period?

I say yes.  For all his troubles, he's a 27-year-old, 6'3" combo guard who is good defensively, can run the pick and roll, and is a decent spot up shooter with three point range.

He probably can be acquired cheaply, and if he struggles either on or off the court, he could easily be released.

But which teams should take a look at Delonte?

Boston Celtics

The Celtics recognized their need for a backup point guard when they drafted Avery Bradley.  But Bradley—as highly touted coming out of high school as John Wall—disappointed in his lone year at Texas.

Ball handlers Nate Robinson and Marquis Daniels are also coming back for the Celtics, though each has their own shortcomings.  Robinson has a scorer's mentality, and his size makes him a defensive liability.  Marquis Daniels meanwhile is injury prone and while he can handle a little, he is probably best reserved for backing up Ray Allen and Paul Pierce.

Boston is also an older team, which means fewer teammate MILFs for West to prowl. A definite plus.

Could a homecoming be in store for West?  Rumor has it that the Celtics are in discussions to sign Shaquille O'Neal.  If Boston is willing to sign one Cavalier who might cause issues, why stop there?

Charlotte Bobcats

After losing Raymond Felton to the Knicks in free agency, the Bobcats point guard job will fall to either D.J. Augustin or Shaun Livingston.

Yeah, I'm not impressed either.

Augustin has a nice outside shot, but is undersized and took a step back in his sophomore campaign.  Livingston has nice size at 6'7", but has a limited outside shot on a team that desperately needs shooters. He's also injury prone, as he's never managed to play in more than 61 games in a year.

West would be a good fit for the Bobcats.  He could split time with Augustin and even play shooting guard alongside Livingston and then cross-match on defense.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers recently traded West away in a deal that netted them Ramon Sessions. Could he be headed right back?

Well, with Sessions, Mo Williams, Daniel Gibson, Anthony Parker, and rookie Christian Eyenga, there's really no minutes left for West in the guard rotation.

And given the headaches West gave the franchise, it's probably best he gets a fresh start somewhere else.

Still, I'd love it just because of the "You can head SOUTH! But your mom is riding WEST!" t-shirt that is spreading through Cleveland.

Anything that helps Cleveland get under LeBron's skin is worth doing, am I right? Eh? Eh? Ok, maybe not.

Dallas Mavericks

Ok, the Mavs don't make much sense basketball-wise for West, as they've got a packed backcourt rotation.  But with West and Jason Kidd, Dallas could really corner the market on point guards with the most Yahoo Answers threads asking what race they are.

Indiana Pacers

T.J. Ford could be their starter again this year.  Combustible rookie Lance Stevenson could be the backup.  I think I've said enough.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers still need to fill out their roster, and with Jordan Farmar gone and Shannon Brown contemplating more money elsewhere, another guard will be needed.  The Lakers also managed to win a title with Ron Artest, so I doubt they won't be able to handle West's issues.

Still, continuity would probably be best for the champions, who should only consider West if they can't bring back Brown.

Memphis Grizzlies

Quick, name the Grizzlies' back up point guard! 

What's that?

Why yes, you're right, it's rookie Greivis Vasquez!

No wonder the Grizzlies experimented with O.J. Mayo running the point during the summer league.  (An experiment that was a miserable failure, I might add.)

If the Grizzlies are willing to hand the backup point guard spot to the likes of Jamaal Tinsley and Marcus Williams, they should have no hesitancy to give West a chance.

Miami Heat

With Carlos Arroyo, Mario Chalmers, Eddie House and a host of guards fighting for 15th roster spot, point guard is one of the Heat's few weaknesses.

House can shoot, but he can't defend or bring the ball up.

Arroyo can initiate the offense, but has no three point shot and isn't a great defender.

Chalmers theoretically could be the answer, but took major steps back in his second season.

Basketball wise, Delonte West would make a lot of sense.  His three point shooting and defense are what the Heat need out of the position, as LeBron and Wade will no doubt be the primary ball handlers.

Of course, if the rumors about West and LeBron's mother are true, there's no way LeBron would allow this to happen.

New York Knicks

The Knicks already have Raymond Felton and Toney Douglas manning the point, but Mike D'Antoni has never been afraid to go small and put shooters on the floor.  The Knicks could use some guard depth, so West makes some sense for them.

Sacramento Kings

The Kings have both Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih, but neither can guard opposition point guards particularly well.  Evans and Udrih shared the court a decent amount last year, with Evans running the point but cross matching on defense.  West could fill a similar role. 

However with Francisco Garcia returning from injury to play the two, there probably won't be as many minutes available.


How about it?  Where should Delonte West land? Is he worth the trouble?