David West is an intriguing option for the Kings as free agency, a lockout or any number of things approach. West has been the model of consistency over his 8 year career with the New Orleans Hornets. West averages 16.4 ppg and 7.3 rpg while shooting a very respectable 83.9% from the charity stripe for his career. David will turn 31 this August which is still a very good age for an NBA player much like John Salmons and he still has at least 4 to 5 good years in the league assuming he stays healthy for that period.
Then the question comes up, Is David West worth the risk? Considering he tore his ACL at the end of last season it is very much up in the air as to how he will recover from that devastating injury. Luckily he isn't a guard and doesn't rely on his quickness as much as a guard would but one still has to wonder if his production will decline as a result or have lingering effects. Tim Duncan has been slowed by knee injuries as Shaq was at the end of his career. Those two suffered a major decline especially Shaq at the end of his career because of the lingering knee trouble. Duncan really didn't decline as much until this year which might have been due to the fact that he is now 35 and has probably lost a step. Either way knee injuries are nothing to play around with and West will have to be examined thoroughly before any team signs him.
Now we move to the how David West would fit in on the Kings and how feasible it is for them to sign him. Last year's starting 4 and 5 combo was DeMarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert. Obviously it remains to be seen whether the team will re-sign Dalembert or Marcus Thornton for that matter and the impending lockout only further complicates matters. Judging by the production of Dalembert and Thornton last year, it would come as no surprise to anyone if both players returned to Sactown next season, whenever that may be. Let's look at Samuel Dalembert's stats from last season. He averaged 8.1 ppg and 8.2 rpg and shot a respectable 73% from the line. However, Dalembert was widely inconsistent when it came to scoring points and that aspect really hurt the Kings because he wasn't really someone anybody wanted shooting 15-footers yet he did time and again. When he was hot it was certainly a nice part of the offense but the bad part was when he wouldn't hit his jumpers on some nights and it really stunted the team offensively. He did make up for it with his defense and rebounding but it would be nice to be able to mark in 15 and 10 every night like you can with West every night while moving D-Cuz back to his natural Center spot. This equation also involves Jason Thompson. If the team re-signs Dalembert and happens to sign West, where does that leave Thompson? To JT's credit, he did adjust well to coming off the bench last year and was a nice player to have fill in for either Dalembert or Cousins when they needed a break. Obviously signing West would congest the frontcourt but I don't think it would be an impossible situation to work out. A starting five of Evans, Thornton, Salmons, West and Cousins would be pretty formidable both defensively and offensively with no starter measuring under 6' 4" and nobody averaging less than Thornton's skewed 12.8 ppg. Obviously everyone would have to adjust to Paul Westphal's offense and attempted shots would be more or less for the 5 guys than they were last year.
David West is a very affordable player (he opted out of the final year of his contract with NOH that was due to pay him $7.5 million). The Kings have the most salary cap space of any team in the league and the Maloofs, Geoff Petrie and Paul Westphal have repeatedly stated that the team isn't done adding to this team and will do that either through free agency or by way of trades. Either way the financial flexibility is there for the taking and the Kings desperately need to keep making additions to the team to bring it back to respectability and beyond. After all this team might not even be here if it wasn't for Kevin Johnson's heroic efforts. It is now the Kings' duty to show why they were worth keeping and give the loyal fans the proud and successful franchise that they deserve. Much like the relocation, these matters are out of our hands but we can remain hopeful that David will indeed head West.