Just in: Heard from my source that David West will not exercise his player option and will become a free agent. Story coming soon.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) June 24, 2015
Given that Larry Bird had previously expressed optimism that West would opt-in, this decision, when and if confirmed, comes somewhat out of left field.
West averaged 11.7 points and 6.8 rebounds on 47.1% shooting, the worst field goal percentage of his career since his sophomore season in New Orleans. No. 21 showed signs of wear and tear throughout the season. He missed the team's first 15 games with what he described at the time as a "tough, tough sprain" and he very noticeably was executing fewer post-up plays in favor of mid-range jump shots. At 12.8 feet, Indiana's starting power forward recorded the longest average field goal distance of his 12-year career.
Having not been formally informed of the 34-year-old's decision, Bird had little to say on the matter at this time, per Buckner, "I haven't been in touch with David or his agent, Jeff Austin. So, until then he's a member of our team."
Of course, Bird's official statement has not dissuaded other team's from reportedly showing interest in the rumored soon-to-be free agent:
As Greg Monroe is a top choice for NY, I'm told, will be intrigue w/ David West. Tough leader NY needs, plays 4. Melo/West/Monroe frontline?— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) June 24, 2015
As of now, Roy Hibbert's agent maintains there is no update on his client's impending decision. Exactly how much West's decision will affect the team's draft decision tomorrow remains to be seen.
"No, not at all," Bird previously told the Indy Star when asked if Hibbert or West's decision would impact how the team's drafts.