NBA Free Agency: 10 Possible Destinations for Hornets' David West

Tyler WardAnalyst IJune 27, 2011

NBA Free Agency: 10 Possible Destinations for Hornets' David West

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    According to sources, New Orleans Hornets star power forward David West will opt out of the last year of his current deal and try his luck in free agency.

    West has a June 30th deadline to let the organization know whether he will return on his $7.5 million salary or test the free agent waters.

    Throughout this year, the team had thought that West would not return this upcoming season, despite spending his entire career with the Hornets.

    The former All-Star was forced to undergo surgery earlier this year to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee that he suffered in a game on March 24th.

    West believes that he can still perform at a high level and he is expected to be one of the top free agents on the market if he does in fact decide to opt out of his contract.

    There are many teams in need of a power forward and with West arguably being the best one on the market, he should garner a lot of attention. Any deal that West signs will likely be over the $7.5 million he was due to receive on the last year of his deal.

    So here's a sneak peek at 10 team that could use West's services.

Washington Wizards

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    The Wizards are one of a handful of teams that are on the rise. They had one of the best drafts last week, as they added Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack to a team that already consists of future All-Star John Wall as well as up and coming players like Javale McGee and Jordan Crawford.

    However, a West-to-Wizards deal would only work if they unloaded current starter Andray Blatche, who is slowly wearing out his welcome in the nation's capital.

    Blatche has put up decent numbers, but he does not play defense at all and his points seem to come in garbage time.

    Adding West to a very young Wizards cast will provide veteran leadership to a team that lacks that one significant leader.

    The scenario could also mean that the Wizards could be put back into playoff contention where there are roughly three spots open - the Celtics, Heat, Magic, Hawks and Bulls are all seeming to be perennial playoff caliber teams. That leaves three spots open among eleven teams so there will be a lot of competition in the Eastern Conference.

    If the Wizards could somehow unload one of the worst contracts in NBA history (Rashard Lewis), that could make the scenario even more real.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    The Bucks are in biggest need of a power forward as they are hoping to return back to the top of the Eastern Conference.

    Currently, the Bucks list Drew Gooden, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Ersan Ilyasova and the inexperienced Larry Sanders as the power forwards so there is a lot of work to be done. With players like that, it will be hard for them to return to the upper echelon of East teams.

    The Bucks will also have Michael Redd's massive contract coming off the books, so that gives them even more wiggle room to sign a possible free agent, most likely a power forward.

    The potential signing of West could mean that put the Bucks back as contenders as they already have a roster that includes an electric scorer in Brandon Jennings, a big body in Andrew Bogut and the newly-acquired Stephen Jackson, who is an annual threat to average 20 points per game.

    The Milwaukee brass definitely needs to look into possibly signing West, who could benefit the Bucks in more ways than one.

    He is considered to be one of the best scoring big men in the league and is also a very consistent rebounder, who typically averages anywhere between eight and ten rebounds per game.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    This can be considered to be one of the most unlikeliest scenarios out of the ten, but it could still happen.

    First, the Blazers would have to unload Brandon Roy's massive contract in a possible sign-and-trade with the Hornets.

    Although the Blazers already have LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby on the roster, they still need some help in the frontcourt. It is unknown whether Camby will return to the Blazers this season as he continues to age and his performances are slightly declining.

    If Camby does in fact come back and the Blazers sign West, they could have a very potent combination in Aldridge, Camby and the aforementioned West.

    Also, if this were to happen, the Blazers could use a rotation that consists West at power forward and Aldridge at center with Camby coming off the bench.

    The possible addition of West could give the Blazers one of the best frontcourts in the league and could put them among the top in the Western Conference.

Detroit Pistons

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    The Pistons are far from the team they were in the mid-2000's and that could mainly contribute to their recent lack of a quality power forward.

    They signed Charlie Villanueva a couple of offseasons ago, but he has failed to produce up to expectations. Jason Maxiell has gotten better over the last few seasons, but it will be hard for the Pistons to contend with a power forward, who is not even considered to be one of the top 20 in the league.

    The Pistons will be even better off if they are able to deal away Richard Hamilton and his contract, as thought would happen at the trade deadline during the 2010-11 season.

    West's addition would mean that he would immediately become the team's best player, as he is a perennial 20-10 player. The addition of West could also put the Pistons back in contention as they have been recent cellar dwellers the last few seasons.

    If a team wants to contend, they have to have a decent frontcourt. That's what the Pistons are currently lacking with Villanueva, Maxiell and the ever-aging Ben Wallace, who is on the down-slope of his career.

    The Pistons definitely need to put West on the radar of potential free-agent signings.

Golden State Warriors

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    Like the Wizards, the Warriors are also on the rise as they drafted sharpshooter Klay Thompson from Washington State with the 11th overall selection.

    The drafting of Thompson could very well spell the end of Monta Ellis' tenure in California, as rumors have been swirling around the prolific scorer.

    If the Warriors wanted to acquire West, there could be a possible sign-and-trade that would send West out west in exchange for Ellis, which would give the Hornets a valiant second scoring option that they have been lacking.

    West is also considered to be a very talented defensive player and we all know that the Warriors have no idea what that is.

    Statistically, they have been one of the worst teams over the last decade when it comes to defense, which is why they have rarely made the playoffs over the last ten years.

    A potential frontcourt consisting of West, David Lee, Andris Biedrins and Ekpe Udoh could put the Warriors back in playoff contention as they have been slowly progressing over the last couple of years.

Indiana Pacers

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    With the Pacers slowly getting better, the possible acquisition of West could make the Pacers perennial playoff contenders.

    After giving the Bulls fits in the first round of the playoffs, the young Pacers team knows that they are knocking on the door to become a good team.

    The roster already consists of great, young talent like Danny Granger, former teammate Darren Collison, Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough, Paul George and the newly-acquired George Hill.

    The Pacers have a lot of cap space and could use it to sign West, who would command a decent salary.

    West would also provide veteran leadership to a team that is currently lacking that one true leader. He would also be able to mentor his younger frontcourt teammates in Hansbrough and McRoberts in hopes of making them quality players in the league.

    I personally believe that signing West would put the Pacers back into the playoffs for a second straight postseason and they have ample opportunity to add him to a very talented roster.

Sacramento Kings

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    With the most cap space in the NBA, the Kings are looking to make major moves in free agency in the hopes of competing once again in the Western Conference. The only problem is that the Maloofs needs to stop being cheap and empty out their pockets.

    With Samuel Dalembert likely not to return to the Kings, they do not have much of a frontcourt besides DeMarcus Cousins, although they seem to be readily stacked in the backcourt with Tyreke Evans, Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton if the Kings retain him.

    Adding West would give them a potent 1-2 punch with Cousins, who showed great promise during his rookie season last year.

    Not to mention, it would give them an abundance of scoring with the aforementioned backcourt players.

    Like the Warriors, the Kings do not play that much defense and West would give them that inside presence along with Cousins.

    With a lot more money to shell out, the Kings could be one of the likeliest destinations for David West.

Toronto Raptors

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    This is also one of the most unlikeliest destinations as most high profile players would rather not play for the Raptors—a franchise that has mightily struggled since expanding to the NBA—but anything can happen.

    However, the Raptors should have some cap space to make an offer to West and if it's too good to turn down, we could see him going up north.

    The Raptors used their fifth overall selection on Jonas Valanciunas, a prospect that we will not see in an NBA uniform for at least another season.

    So the Raptors could use as much help as they can get and it could start with the veteran.

    West would be lining up alongside former first overall pick Andrea Bargnani, who has been consistently linked to trade rumors as of late. Bargnani, who is a potential 20-10 guy, needs some help in the frontcourt, as he is not a prototypical center. He fails to bang with other centers and has been considered weak by other players and basketball analysts.

    Toronto signed Amir Johnson to a five-year deal last season, but he has yet to show that he is the long term option at power forward. The signing of West would give them that long term option and could put Johnson on the trading block.

Orlando Magic

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    Superstar Dwight Howard has recently said that he will leave the Magic if they cannot give him another player that will relieve him of some pressure.

    That's where David West comes in.

    West, who is a 20-10 player, would help Dwight Howard in the frontcourt and would hopefully make teams stop double-teaming the All-Star Howard.

    The Magic are on the cusp of becoming one of the East's elite behind Howard, but they are lacking that second scoring option and consistent player that West is.

    Orlando would not be able to just outright sign West, so a potential sign-and-trade would have to be accomplished (West for Arenas or West for J-Rich?) Richardson is also a free agent, so both teams could possibly re-sign their respective players and deal them away.

    Adding Arenas or Richardson to the Hornets would also give them that second scorer that they desperately need beside Chris Paul, who has shown that he cannot do it all by himself.

    The possible acquisition of West could make the Magic one of the top two or three teams in the Eastern Conference and could send them into their third Finals appearance ever.

San Antonio Spurs

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    This is also one of the unlikeliest scenarios, but anything can happen in the NBA.

    The Spurs are unfortunately on the downfall as most teams are getting used to the trio of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. Duncan, who is getting older, has seen his production decline significantly and West could possibly be his replacement.

    The signing of West would of course mean that coach Pop would have to line up Duncan at center, a position that he has played somewhat throughout his legendary career.

    Adding West would put the Spurs back among the top in the West, although they had the best record in the conference last season, but would eventually lose to the up-and-coming eighth seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round.

    A sign-and-trade would likely have to be done and could likely include Richard Jefferson, who has quickly fallen out of favor in San Antonio.

    The deal could also give Tim Duncan another shot at winning one more championship before he retires and goes into the Hall of Fame.

Honorable Mentions

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    Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Timberwolves could also be in the running for West, as they are slowly adding pieces in hopes of not being a cellar dweller anymore.

    This signing would only work if the Wolves pencil Kevin Love in at center and place West at power forward. Second overall pick Derrick Williams could also return to his natural position at small forward.

    This would also mean that Michael Beasley would become the odd man out and could be subsequently dealt elsewhere, possibly in the deal that would land West.

    An addition of David West would become one of David Kahn's smartest moves in the NBA (and we know he's made some horrendous ones).

    Charlotte Bobcats

    The Bobcats, fresh off having arguably the best draft class out of any other team, are looking to make it back to the playoffs for the second time in their franchise's history.

    Tyrus Thomas has shown that he is not the long-term answer at power forward and West would be a significant upgrade over the former lottery selection.

    Michael Jordan is looking to upgrade the team and make them into contenders, something that they have never been.

    The signing of West would mean that they are headed in the right direction.

    New Orleans Hornets

    I think it's kind of obvious as to why they are on this list. They need to make all the effort they can to bring the former All-Star back.

So Where Does He Land?

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    Here are the odds on where I think the former All-Star will land:

    - Washington Wizards: 20 percent

    - Milwaukee Bucks: 65 percent

    - Portland Trail Blazers: 10 percent

    - Detroit Pistons: 25 percent

    - Golden State Warriors: 40 percent

    - Indiana Pacers: 70 percent

    - Sacramento Kings: 60 percent

    - Toronto Raptors: 30 percent

    - Orlando Magic: 30 percent

    - San Antonio Spurs: 25 percent

    - Minnesota Timberwolves: 15 percent

    - Charlotte Bobcats: 20 percent

    - New Orleans Hornets: 45 percent

    So as you can tell, I predict that the Pacers, Kings and Bucks are the three biggest possible suitors, respectively.

    I think he will eventually land in Indiana to play for Larry Bird's Pacers.