Marc Stein: ESPN sources say Wizards pushing hard to land David West. Would be nice rally to get both Jared Dudley and D-West after losing Paul Pierce
David Aldridge: Situation same as last night's reporting re: Wiz/David West. They'd love to use MLE 4 him, but he's scanning the post LaMarcus/Jordan field.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say David West is most likely to wind up with one of two teams after leaving Indiana: San Antonio or Washington
David West is willing to put his money where his mouth is – even if he loses quite a bit of it in the process. According to a person with knowledge of his situation, the free agent forward who declined a $12.2 million player option to stay with the Indiana Pacers next season, has serious interest in playing for the San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the free agency process.
Steve Kyler: "At this point in my career, I just want to win," David West told WTHR.com's @bkravitz. "I'm just not sure the Pacers are in title contention right now. I'm going into my 13th season. I just don't know if the team is in the position to win right now and I didn't know if I'd have that opportunity to win a title. I don't want to be in a position where we're just fighting to make the playoffs. I want to be in a spot where we can legitimately taste the finals"
Bob Kravitz: Not the reason he left, but West was very annoyed at the way the Pacers, specifically Bird, took shots at Hibbert during post-season presser
Marc Stein: Hearing that the Knicks -- besides presumed free agent targets such as L-Aldridge/G-Monroe/D-Carroll -- will get a meeting with David West. How far Knicks go with David West obviously depends on how far they get with other targets, but he's said to be serious name on their board
Jared Zwerling: League source: David West is "very likely" to sign with the Knicks come FA. "He knew that before he chose not to opt in" with the Pacers.
Candace Buckner: Just confirmed thru another league source: Once again, D West is NOT picking up option w/ #Pacers. Source said West made up mind yesterday. West not picking up $12.6 M clearly means this was not a money decision. He turns 35 in August, but still has “passion” to play, per source
Jared Zwerling: As Greg Monroe is a top choice for NY, I'm told, will be intrigue w/ David West. Tough leader NY needs, plays 4. Melo/West/Monroe frontline?
Candace Buckner: Just in: Heard from my source that David West will not exercise his player option and will become a free agent. Story coming soon.
September 26, 2021 | 6:15 am EDT Update
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
When asked directly about Irving’s vaccination status — or his plans to change it — multiple people familiar with his thinking declined to answer directly. But one confidant and family member floated to Rolling Stone the idea of anti-vaxx players skipping home games to dodge the New York City ordinance… or at least threatening to protest them, until the NBA changes its ways.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
In their sit-down interview back in August, Durant and Green rehashed the incident and how it ultimately affected KD’s decision to leave the Warriors. Surprisingly, KD claimed it wasn’t the beef itself that pushed him away, but the way Steve Kerr, Bob Myers and the front office handled things. “It wasn’t the argument,” the former Warriors star said. “It was the way that everybody … Steve Kerr acted like it didn’t happen. Bob Myers tried to just discipline you and think that would put a mask over everything. I really felt that was such a big situation for us as a group, the first time we went through something like that. We had to get that s— all out.”