How did Larry Bird react to David West leaving Indy?: ‘What?’
Just about everyone knows this by now, but David West turned down $11 million dollars over the summer to sign with the San Antonio Spurs.
He could've stayed with the Indiana Pacers and participated in their semi-rebuild, or he could've fought for a championship in what's likely the final season of his under-appreciated career.
West chose the latter, and the decision initially caught Pacers President Larry Bird off guard, per the San Antonio Express-News:
Now in his 13th season, West is averaging 15.4 minutes and 4.7 points per game. It's not the production we're used to seeing from the two-time All-Star, but sooner or later he'll make his presence felt.
Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics Hall of Famer who now serves as president of basketball operations for the Pacers, admits West’s decision to leave the Pacers stung. “When it happened it was, ‘What?’” said Bird. “But if he thinks it’s best for him, good for him. Who are we to tell him he’s crazy?” West is no mad man. His decision to forego guaranteed millions was rooted in foresight many retirees would envy.