The Indiana Pacers pushed the Miami Heat to the limit in the Eastern Conference Finals. Their toughness and grit made a finesse team built on speed and quickness adjust to rough and tumble post play for six out of the seven games in that series. One of the key cogs for the Pacers, David West, is up for free agency this summer, and it may be in their best interest to look in another direction.
This is hard because David West is such an integral part of the fabric of what the Indiana Pacers represent. He is their tough guy, their bruiser down low who punishes smaller players that try to guard him. His ability to force double teams kick started one of the most stagnant offenses in the league. He was valiant against the Miami Heat, forcing one of the premier perimeter defenders, Shane Battier, to the bench. The reality of the situation is that he will demand close to $40 million for four years on the open market, a lane which he intends to pursue. At 33 years old for a franchise that has invested a lot of money into their youth, this move would seem totally counterproductive.
The better money may be on Paul Millsap. With a similar skill set, aside from the fact that Millsap can actually stretch the floor and also happens to be five years younger, $45 million for five years might be better served with a player approaching 30 rather than a player approaching his twilight of his career. He may also be a better fit taking the big double team threat away from teams who try to crowd Roy Hibbert.
The development of youth was a big reason why the Pacers are a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference. They have taken chances on players such as Lance Stephenson and Paul George and come up aces with them. Though David West is a known commodity, going dangerous and young could push Indiana over the top the season with Paul Millsap.