Spurs Get Stronger By Adding David West
The San Antonio Spurs clearly didn’t like getting bounced from the NBA playoffs in the first round last year. And they’re also not done trying to chase a championship.
The big move is out of the way with LaMarcus Aldridge coming to town, but the Spurs stayed active on Monday night, securing a deal with veteran power forward David West.
West has been publicly weighing his options over the past week, ever since he opted out of his deal with the Indiana Pacers. West’s deal with Indiana would have been worth $12 million for the 2015-16 NBA season, but West’s claim that he wanted to play for a title contender wasn’t a farce. The skilled big man gave up nearly $11 million in guaranteed cash to sign with San Antonio, where the 35-year old will see far less playing time and barely over $1 million for next season.
It sounds like that’s precisely what the aging veteran was after, as he’ll provide timely offense, solid defense and rebounding off the bench.
The addition of West alone isn’t what has the Spurs thinking about the NBA Finals again, but he’s a huge part. It’s more about the fact that the Spurs had little competition to land a very strong role player, even though they had limited salary cap to work with. West viewed San Antonio as that strong of a contender, that he gave up loads of guaranteed money just for a shot at competing for a championship.
Nothing is ever guaranteed in the NBA, but West made a solid bet by latching on with a Spurs team that won it all as recently as the 2013-14 NBA season and has appeared in the league’s title series in two of the last three seasons.
West’s addition comes after the team landing prized free agent big man LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as the re-signing of franchise player Kawhi Leonard. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have also announced their decisions to continue playing, and with Tony Parker and Danny Green still in tow, the Spurs once again look like one of the best teams (if not the best team) in the league.
So, how does West factor in?
As currently constructed, Duncan is expected to slide over to center, a position he’s played at a very high level in the past. That makes Aldridge the starting four in Duncan’s old spot and has Boris Diaw and West locking up the majority of the minutes as their top backups.
The losses the Spurs have endured can’t go unnoticed, as they certainly sacrificed some depth down low to get Aldridge in the first place. San Antonio had to trade away Tiago Splitter to clear up cap room and also had to let Aron Baynes walk in free agency. The team was also unable to hold onto guards Cory Joseph and Marco Belinelli.
Those aren’t losses the Spurs can’t overcome, however. West and Aldridge are overally upgrades over Splitter and Baynes. Baynes was a volatile player to begin with and was often suspect on defense, while Splitter’s health woes and inconsistency were more apparent than ever this past season.
Joseph was a solid reserve point guard that could be missed, but a healthy Tony Parker could make him easy to forget, while Patty Mills is probably the backup point guard of choice, anyways. Belinelli is a nice bench spark the team could miss, and they should still look to find a minimum salary player to make up for his loss.
Overall, though, a top contender got even stronger with the addition of West and the rest of the league is on notice.
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