David West wants to return to Pacers after season

MIAMI — David West has been a big challenge all season for the Miami Heat. Look for it continue next season.

The Indiana power forward said after Thursday night’s 90-79 loss to the Heat at AmericanAirlines he wants to re-sign with the Pacers this summer as a free agent.

“Yeah,’’ West said an interview with FOX Sports Florida after his team fell behind 3-2 in the Eastern  Conference finals. “I love what we’ve been able to accomplish in the lockout season (of 2011-12) and this full season. And I just pretty much love how this group has grown together since I’ve been there.’’

West signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Pacers before last season. He was asked if he’s had any talks yet with Indiana officials about re-signing.

“I don’t think we can officially,’’ said West of the free agency period starting July 1. “But these guys know that I’m with them (for the future).’’

West averaged 22.7 points against the Heat in three regular-season games and has averaged 18.2 points against them in five games in the East finals.

“They have a very good team,’’ Heat center Chris Bosh said of West wanting to re-sign. “He’d fit in there. I was kind of surprised when he went there. It was like, ‘Dang, they got a pretty good steal,’ because that was a signing that didn’t get a lot of notice, but it was very huge. They’ve got something, so I’m sure they want to keep it intact.’’

West said he’s concentrating on keeping the Pacers alive in Saturday’s Game 6 in Indiana. But he reiterated Indiana is where he wants to be again next season.

“Yeah,’’ said West, who averaged 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds during the regular season. “This group is a good group. Solid guys in here. I really enjoy being a part of it.’’

Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com

or on Twitter @christomasson.