NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Teams That May Lure David West from New Orleans Hornets

Will ToberAnalyst IJuly 20, 2011

NBA Free Agents 2011: 5 Teams That May Lure David West from New Orleans Hornets

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    David West—power forward on the New Orleans Hornets—will be one of the most sought-after free agents in the 2012 class once (if) the NBA lockout ends.

    West finished the 2010-11 season early because of a left knee injury that required him to get reconstructive surgery. However, in the 70 games that he was in the lineup, West was one of the best big men in the league.

    In 35 minutes per game he averaged a team-high 19 points on 51 percent shooting. West also rebounded well, pulling down 7.6 boards—including two offensive rebounds a game.

    With numbers like these, West has the potential to be a game-changer for a team on the verge of making a championship run.

    There's still a chance that West will remain in New Orleans, but he has made it clear that he wants to be on a team that will win. In an article by USA Today West qualified his desire to enter free agency saying:

    It's not taking New Orleans out of the equation, just an opportunity to sign a better deal, and an opportunity to make sure the decision I make for the next three to four years puts me in the best possible situation to win—not just winning and making the playoffs, but legitimately having a chance to compete for championships.

    With that said, here are five teams that may be able to lure David West away from the New Orleans Hornets.

Denver Nuggets

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    One of the teams that could be the most improved by adding David West is the Denver Nuggets.

    The Nuggets have three key players who are unrestricted free agents this offseason—J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin and Nene Hilario.

    If either Hilario or Martin decide to sign with another team this offseason, it could be trouble for Denver.

    The Nuggets found little production from the power forward position last season with Martin averaging only a little over eight points and six rebounds.

    The good news for West and the Nuggets, though, is that even with little prediction from their power forwards, Denver was still able to earn a five seed in the Western Conference last season.

    With David West on the squad, the Nuggets would have a great chance to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks

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    With the departure of Josh Smith seeming more and more likely, the Atlanta Hawks could pick up David West to fill their void in the middle.

    The possible "swap" of Smith for West could actually improve the Hawks' chances at getting to the next level in the NBA Playoffs.

    West is a better scorer and when healthy has been the better playoff performer of the two, which is something the Hawks desperately need.

    Atlanta has exited the playoffs in the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the last three years, but is only one piece away from possible making a deeper run.

    David West could be just the player to give the Hawks that opportunity. 

Orlando Magic

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    David West and the Orlando Magic could also be a good fit.

    Whether or not Dwight Howard demands a trade or chooses to test free agency, he has made it clear that if he is to remain in Orlando, the Magic need to add some players around him.

    Now, while David West is no Chris Paul or Deron Williams, he would certainly be a big step in the right direction.

    The Orlando Magic would have the best post combination in the NBA, with the best center in the league—Dwight Howard—and one of the top power forwards.

    In order to land West, the Magic would need to somehow get rid of some of the terrible contracts they have accumulated, but if they can, West would be a great player for Orlando to sign.

Chicago Bulls

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    The Chicago Bulls could be another good fit for David West.

    Last summer, Chicago signed Carlos Boozer to a big deal. The Bulls had hoped that Boozer would be able to provide another All-Star caliber player for Derrick Rose, but unfortunately for Chicago that didn't pan out.

    From a numbers standpoint, Boozer was not the player Chicago paid over $14 million for. His per-game averages declined in nearly every area and his production in the postseason plummeted. 

    David West will likely be a cheaper option for Chicago should they sign him in addition to the fact that he could also be a better player.

    Pairing West with Rose could be enough to bring the Bulls back to the NBA Finals. 

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    The Oklahoma-City Thunder are in a great position to sign David West.

    Though the Thunder's current starting power forward, Serge Ibaka, proved to be a critical defensive presence for the team, his offensive game pales in comparison to that of West's.

    Oklahoma-City has plenty of cap space to sign a player like West, who will likely be looking for a three-four year deal and a pay raise.

    Should the Thunder find a way to sign David West, they would instantly become one of the favorites to win the Western Conference and would have the ability to be much more flexible in their lineup.

    With West on the roster, Ibaka would be able to come off the bench, which could help out Kendrick Perkins, who only averaged 25 minutes a game last season.

    David West, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would make up the Western Conference's version of the "Big Three."