With the official end of the NBA lockout near, some 400-plus players are eager to get back to work. Two-time All-Star and longtime New Orleans forward David West might top that list, having missed out on the Hornets' playoff run with a late-March injury that required surgery and six months of rehabilition.
And with the most unique of free agency periods beginning in a flurry on Wednesday, West is one step closer to knowing where his return will take place. According to a source close to the situation, West has already received significant interest from his old Hornets bosses, as well as the Pacers, Warriors and Wizards. All four teams have salary cap space, with Indiana topping the list of financial room ($21 million) and followed by Washington ($13.3 millIon), New Orleans ($12.6 million) and Golden State ($7.1 million).
A source close to the Warriors, however, said West is not being seriously considered.
Team officials and agents are permitted to discuss contract terms and offers, but can not enter into oral agreements until free agency begins in earnest on Dec. 9.
West is among the more prominent members of a weak free-agent class that is headed by the likes of Nene and Tyson Chandler, but there will certainly be questions about whether the 31-year-old can return to his old form after having surgery in April to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
West has averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during his eight seasons with the Hornets. He was in fine form until getting hurt last season, averaging 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting at a 50.8 percent clip -- second highest of his career.
The Hornets maintained their impressive run without him late last season, when the February acquisition of former Sacramento forward Carl Landry -- who is also an unrestricted free agent -- paid off handsomely. (Landry has also sparked serious interest from New Orleans and Indiana, as well as Portland and Boston, according to a source.) Despite turmoil at the ownership level (a deal fell through before the NBA took over), New Orleans finished 46-36 under first-year coach Monty Williams and pushed the Lakers to six games in the first round of the playoffs before falling.