Players eager to get West in the mix
Indianapolis (Dec. 12, 2011) -- Darren Collison admitted it was a challenge to let his teammates exactly what to expect from David West. As much as he has been appreciated from afar, the veteran power forward is one of those guys whose greatest admirers are teammates.
"It was hard for me to explain to anybody else because once you start playing with him you understand who he is and what he brings to the table," said Collison, who spent the 2009-10 season with West in New Orleans.
"He just makes the game so much easier for myself and for others. I think everybody is going to enjoy playing with him. He's extremely competitive and he knows the game. His knowledge of the game is by far one of the best in the league and I think we're going to be pretty happy with who we got."
Though Pacers officials could not comment on the reported agreement, both West and agent Lance Scott confirmed the news to multiple media outlets on Sunday. Assuming he passes a physical, West could join the Pacers for practice as soon as Tuesday morning.
Then, the players will begin to understand Collison's words.
"A guy like D-West knows how to play the game," said Danny Granger. "A lot of people don't understand that but players understand, knowing how to play the game -- knowing when to shoot, when to pass, just different nuances of the game you learn through experience and he has that."
West, 31, has career averages of 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in eight seasons. Over the previous six seasons, West has averaged 19.2 points and 8.2 rebounds. A torn ACL late last season required surgery but he received medical clearance to resume his NBA career in October.
"He's a good player," said Roy Hibbert. "I believe he dunked on me one time so obviously we know he can go hard to the rim. We're going to try to get him in as quickly as possible, teach him what he needs to know and go from there."
With West expected to move into the starting lineup at power forward, Tyler Hansbrough moves to the second unit where he'll team with newcomer Jeff Pendergraph to give the Pacers enormous frontcourt energy off the bench.
"I think it adds tremendous depth to us especially at the power forward position and with another veteran on the team," said Granger. "He comes from a team that has won over the past four or five years and he's a veteran, he knows how to play the game. With our team we really need that because we have so many young pieces.
"It's great. I think we're kind of loaded at every position. With more games per week than any other season, we're going to need to go deep into the bench."
The signing of a veteran to fill a specific need also is something of a declaration of intention for the coming season. The past few years have been about the future, with team President Larry Bird and General Manager David Morway intent on stockpiling youth and raw talent to deepen the resource pool.
Bringing in West signals that, while the time for building never ends, the time for winning has arrived.
"The past few years we've been constantly rebuilding and getting younger players. Now, adding a veteran piece, it's time to win now," Granger said. "We've made that our focus and that's our main goal right now."
McRoberts addresses trade rumors
Free agent forward Josh McRoberts acknowledged the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal that would send him to Memphis for guard O.J. Mayo, but said nothing was imminent in a radio interview with John Michael of 1070 The Fan on Monday afternoon.
"From what I know, I've talked to (agent) Mike (Conley), I've been in constant contact with him and I think the Pacers would like to get something done in terms of a sign-and-trade but I'm not sure Memphis is really interested in that," McRoberts said. "I'm not sure what's going to happen but all of the reports that said it's a done deal, that's far from the truth."
The Pacers came close to trading McRoberts and Brandon Rush to the Grizzlies for Mayo prior to the trade deadline last February but the deal was submitted to the league after the deadline had passed. McRoberts is coming off career highs of 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.
He said he would embrace the move to Memphis should it transpire.
"I've had a chance to talk to their general manager and I've had a chance to talk to coach (Lionel) Hollins and they really want me," he said. "I think that's a situation I'm very interested by. Obviously they had a great run in the playoffs and they've had some success. It would be a great opportunity to be part of a team and part of an organization that wants you."