Just this morning the league gave teams permission to start preliminary talks with free agents, and rumors are already surfacing about which teams are showing interest in some of the top guys. One promising sign for Warriors fans is that, while there are still major questions about how they will proceed, at least the front office hasn't been shy about throwing their hat in the ring when it comes to the top free agents. Rumors had already surfaced that the Warriors were looking to make a run at Nene (an option Warriors fans had been calling for since before the lockout), but now Sam Amick of SI.com is reporting via Twitter that the Warriors have also expressed interest in NOH power forward David West:
Source says Indiana, New Orleans, G. State and Washington have all expressed interest in former Hornets forward/2-time All-Star David West.
West may be one of the more sought after free agents this year, coming in at number four on Tom Ziller's Top Free Agent List, but he certainly doesn't seem like a natural fit for this Warriors team. He plays the same position as our highest paid player, and doesn't directly address any team needs, so you'd have to wonder why he might be on the Warriors radar. Maybe they are in fact considering using the amnesty on David Lee or Andris Biedrins, or maybe they are just doing their due diligence by contacting all of the free agent big men to gauge their interest in a move to the Bay. I'm sure this won't be the last rumor we hear between now and Dec 9, when free agency is officially under way. Hit the poll, and jump for Ziller's breakdown of David West.
4. DAVID WEST
Power forward, 31 years old, 6'9
Unrestricted free agent
2011 stats: 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 35 minutes per game; 20.4 PER
West is on the older end of the top rung of free agents, but at 31 and given recent success for teams loaded with post-30 players, he's a big fish. The bigger question of fitness revolves around his ACL, which he tore last season and which required surgery. He appears to have recovered, but teams will want to be sure before laying out the millions.
New Orleans needs to keep West or Carl Landry, lest the Aaron Gray Era get too out of hand. Don't forget that with Landry, the Hornets pushed the L.A. Lakers hard in the playoffs. N.O. GM Dell Demps won't forget, and he doesn't have a lengthy relationship with West, the team's longest-tenured player. All the sentimentalism will come from West, fans and Chris Paul, whose opinion certainly should matter.
On the court, West is the prototype face-up four, a confident shooter who can take most defenders off the dribble. He draws fouls pretty well (about five per game) and shoots 80 percent from the line. He's not nearly as efficient as Nene or Chandler, but he can also soak up almost double the possessions with above-average efficiency.
He'd be a great fit on a team looking to make a championship run within about three years. The Pacers and Nets are reportedly in the mix. I'll let you decide if they fit the criteria.
Make sure to check out the rest of Ziller's list to get ready for what is sure to be one of the wildest free agency periods the NBA has seen in quite some time.