David Aldridge reports
A source briefed on discussions Friday evening said that the Boston Celtics are close to a deal with free agent power forward David West, who has been with the New Orleans Hornets since being drafted in 2003.
West, 31, was expected to be one of the top free agents in this year’s class, but he is coming off of a torn ACL suffered late last season in a game against Utah. West has diligently rehabbed his injury in North Carolina last summer, but teams have been slow to make significant offers to him.
Wow, this has totally come out of left field. Amazing. So surprising.
I am very much enjoying this lockout shortened free agency period. It is non-stop activity and excitement.
Details are not yet confirmed but it looks like Jermaine O’Neal + Delonte West for David West in a sign and trade.
David West looks set to sign a three year $27 million deal.
Talk about David West
I do not consider him an All-Star caliber player but he is very much an above average starter. A top 15 player at the PF position.
David West is an undersized four with a very effective offensive game. He has a terrific midrange and long two point jump shot coupled with some nice nifty moves going to the basket off the dribble and from the low post. He avoids turnovers and has good efficiency offensively.
David West is a little below average as a defender/rebounder but he is more than serviceable. Not a liability.
League To Veto?
Depends on the exact configuration of the trade but unless Boston parts with some draft picks, yes, I have to believe so.
There is simply no benefit for New Orleans to take on a bunch of added salary to players who offer little to no added value to their team (Jermaine, Delonte) in an effort to find David West a good contract and a new home. They need more incentive to make this deal.
Which most likely means draft picks.
If there are not draft picks, I expect the league to veto. Especially after the Chris Paul to LA Lakers debacle yesterday.
Boston’s New Lineup
PG – Rajon Rondo, Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley
SG – Ray Allen, Marquis Daniels and E’Twaun Moore
SF – Paul Pierce, Jeff Green
PF – David West, Brandon Bass, JaJuan Johnson
C – Kevin Garnett, Chris Wilcox
Boston should target a big bodied center to round out their roster. A third string center. Someone with a real physical presence. Physical toughness. Legitimate size. A strong low post defender. A quality defender/rebounder.
The Raptors recent signing of Jamaal Magloire would have been ideal for the above role but other options are still available.
This Boston Celtics team is going to play with far more quickness and offensive range. Their big men’s shooting ability is going to create a huge amount of space and opportunities for Rajon Rondo to exploit with his dribble penetration and passing ability.
Rondo will be up to his whirling devilish best.
That said, they also have nobody outside of Kevin Garnett who can provide quality interior defense. Which is scary. It would be great if they could find a backup center who can anchor their defense while Garnett rests.
Boston’s Remaining Options At Center
So, if Danny wanted to sign another center to replace Jermaine O’Neal … his best options would be:
- Kwame Brown – v.likely out of Boston’s price range
- Joel Przybilla
- Eric Dampier
- Aaron Gray
- Kurt Thomas
- And the DJ Mbengas and Kyrylo Fesenkos of the world
David West’s Health
I am choosing to ignore that for now because you simply cannot pass up an opportunity to add a player of West’s caliber for such a small price. Especially for a team like Boston who are so close to a title and on their last legs.
Hopefully, it all works out alright.
As an aside, earlier this summer I had expected West to return to action and remain healthy but see a slight decline in his offensive efficiency due to the knee injury. I expected that decline to be temporary and for him to get back to his best the following season. Who knows whether that proves to be accurate or not. We’ll see.
Boston’s 2012 Salary Situation
So that would leave the C’s with the following salaries:
- Paul Pierce = $16.79 million
- Rajon Rondo = $11 million
- David West ~~ $9 million
- JaJuan Johnson = $1.4 million
- Avery Bradley = $1.6 million
- Clippers pick ~~ $2 million
- C’s 2012 pick ~~ $1.2 million
- Cap holds for five empty roster spots = $2.5 million
A sub-total of $45.5 million versus a cap of $58-61 million.
So $13-16 million in cap room to sign free agents. They’d have no problem freeing up an extra couple of million by moving some mix of JJ, Bradley and the 2012 pick to give them enough to sign a max contract if necessary (and if a high cap figure).
I have to believe that a Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and David West combination would be very attractive to Dwight Howard next summer.
If the David West experiment did not work out, the C’s could use the stretch provision on him. That would reduce their (estimated) $9mil commitment over two years to $4.4 million over five years creating an additional $4.6 million in cap space which would give Boston enough to offer a max contract free agent.
Jermaine O’Neal To Be Waived, Join Miami?
Meh, J.O’Neal was terrible for Chris Bosh when they played together in Toronto. I see no reason why that would change now.
He’ll take just as much away from that team as he adds … and that’s if he’s healthy.