David West opted out because he did not think Pacers were title contenders
“At this point in my career, I just want to win,” West told WTHR.com in an exclusive interview Wednesday night. “I’m just not sure the Pacers are in title contention right now. I’m going into my 13th season. I’ll be 35 soon. When I got to Indiana, there was hope of getting there and we played at a really high level for a couple of years. But I just don’t know if the team is in the position to win right now and I didn’t know if I’d have that opportunity to win a title if I’d stayed with the Pacers.”
West was scheduled to earn $12.6 million next season but is turning that down for the chance at playing for a team he feels is closer to a title. That’s the same reason he dismissed reports saying he was close to signing with the Knicks.
West said the rumors about him going to the Knicks are ridiculous; he wants to be with a contender; the Knicks don't qualify.
— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) July 2, 2015
In addition to his desire to play for a contender, West told reporter Bob Kravitz that the way Pacers exec Larry Bird threw Roy Hibbert under the bus after the season bothered him.
“I’ll be honest with you, that bothered me a little bit, and I told Roy that. I’m the type of guy who feels like we’re all in this fight together and I’m not designed in that way to put it all on one guy. That did rub me the wrong way. That threw me off. I started reading some of that stuff, I started thinking, ‘Whoaa.’ I just didn’t feel good about that. I told Roy that it bothered me, that he’s still my teammate.”
West, no longer feeling the loyalty to the Pacers after that happened, categorized that as the last straw.
West turns 35 before next season and is running out of time to win a ring. He sure appears to have lost that ego that Ray Allen criticized him for. We imagine plenty of teams will be interested in signing him.