David West left $10.7 million dollars on the table to join the San Antonio Spurs this week. His sacrifice, the additions of more pricey free agents like LaMarcus Aldridge and returning veterans Tim Duncan and Manu Ganobli, have the Spurs poised to make a serious run at the NBA Finals in 2016.
But does Vegas think the Spurs have what it takes to win it all next year? Not so, according to Pro Sports Talk, which lists the Cleveland Cavaliers as the team to beat next year, at 11/4 odds. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs round out the top three, each with 9/2 odds.
As reported by Inquistr, David West joined up with Greg Popovich’s Spurs with the intent of winning a title. West opted out of his contract with the Indiana Pacers that would have paid him $12 million dollars, according to ESPN. Instead, he signed with the Spurs for the veteran’s minimum, which is $1.5 million — a difference of $10.7 million dollars just for a shot at playing with a serious contending team.
West’s unselfishness has not gone unnoticed in league circles, either. According to the Indianapolis Star, David’s choice of potentially winning the NBA Finals over a big payday is just one example of why his services were so coveted during the offseason.
“Believe me when I tell you this: West knew what he was doing when he opted out of his contract with the Pacers, which would have paid him $12.6 million in 2015-16. Some players roll the dice on themselves and lose; David West didn’t do that. He rolled the dice on himself and won, knowing only that he was turning down a fortune but hoping a great team — the Spurs, Cavaliers and NBA champion Warriors were his top targets — would give him a shot.”
And the Spurs did. Funny that the only two teams with equal or greater odds right now — by Vegas’s standards at least — could stand in his way. First off, any team that counts LeBron James as it’s featured player is always in the conversation. But with the recent announcement that Kevin Love will return, coupled with a healthy Kyrie Irving and a potential trade for Joe Johnson in the works, the Cavs clearly have the more formidable unit to contend with.
And that’s assuming the Spurs can even make it out of the Western Conference. With the defending Golden State Warriors roster seemingly intact, there’s no reason to believe they’ll be any less difficult to beat than last year.
But even so, kudos to David West for giving himself — and his new team — the best possible chance at winning the NBA Finals in 2016.
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