West played an integral role towards Indiana’s run to the Central Division title and appearance in the Eastern Conference finals this past season, with the 10-year-veteran averaging 17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 73 games as the Pacers’ starting power forward.
Previous reports indicated that West’s new contract is for three years and worth $36 million.
“This is the ideal situation for myself at this stage of my career,” said West. “There’s really no other group that I’d rather be part of for the next few years than this group.”
The 32-year-old spent his first eight NBA seasons with the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets before signing a two-year deal with the Pacers shortly after the 2011 lockout. Over 669 career games, West has averaged 16.1 points and 7.2 rebounds and made back-to-back All-Star Games with the Hornets in 2008 and 2009.
“He’s done more for this franchise then he could ever imagine,” Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said of West. “Coming in here, establishing himself as a great player, not only on the court, but in the locker room and the city. There’s special players that come through that are great players, but they don’t give their heart and soul off the court or in the locker room to make other players better. We’re very much appreciative of that.”
West played in two All-Star games while with the Hornets in 2008 and ’09. Those two seasons, he averaged 20.6 ppg and 8.9 rpg and 21 ppg and 8.5 rpg, respectively.
“You can watch David play and appreciate him, but to coach him and see what he brings to our team on a daily basis really enhances that appreciation,” said Coach Frank Vogel. “There aren’t many players like him in the NBA and to have him back on our team is very important for what we hope to accomplish.”
Indiana also introduced Watson, who signed a reported two-year, $4.1 million contract to serve as the team’s new backup to starting point guard George Hill.
Watson is coming off a solid season as Deron Williams’ understudy with the Brooklyn Nets in which the six-year pro averaged 6.8 points and 2.0 assists over 80 games and shot 41.1 percent from 3-point range. He averaged 9.7 points and a career-best 4.1 assists while starting 25 out of 49 contests for the Chicago Bulls the previous season.
“C.J. Watson is exactly the type of player we were looking for when we said we needed to address our bench,” said Bird. “He’s experienced and he has been with winning teams, so he knows what it takes.”
The 29-year-old Watson owns career averages of 7.6 points, 2.5 assists and a 38.2 percent 3-point percentage over 385 games.
“I’m excited to join the Pacers,” said Watson. “It’s a good young team with a bright future and a shot to compete for a championship and I’m happy to be a part of that.”
The Pacers reportedly will add restricted free agent Chris Copeland next week. He must first sign an offer sheet of two years and $6.2 million and then the Knicks have three days to decide whether to match the offer. New York does not have the cap space to match, thus Copeland is assured of joining the Pacers.