With the Carmelo Anthony "melo" drama grabbing up all the headlines, David West's impending free agency has slipped under the headlines.
After seeing David Lee get a six-year, $80 million contract last summer, there's little doubt West will opt out of the last year of his team-friendly contract when he is due a (relatively) paltry sum of $9 million.
This couldn't come at a worse time for the Hornets. The franchise, still reeling from the financial hit of operating in a post-Katrina New Orleans, recently became a ward of the league, in a manner similar to MLB's Montreal Expos in the early part of the last decade.
Not only will the other owners blanch at using their money to finance a nominal competitor's spending in the off-season, but Hornets' management has to be leery of locking the current team, with a ceiling of a second-round exit, into place long-term.
At the same time, if they have any hope of keeping Chris Paul, a must for the viability of the franchise in New Orleans, they can't just let West walk for nothing in the off-season.
If they do decide to trade him, there would be no shortage of suitors for West, a two-time All-Star with a PER of 20.8 this season.