David West made what was perceived as an unusual free-agent decision last month, choosing to sign with the smaller-market, building Indiana Pacers over a potential opportunity with the Celtics.
The Celtics were working out a deal to acquire West as long as he agreed to a long-term extension to stay in Boston beyond this season. Instead of a three- or four-year deal at about $9 million per season, West accepted a two-year $20 million offer from Indiana.
The Pacers come to TD Garden tonight for the first of two meetings in eight days with the Celtics, and West (right, courtesy of AP) will make his first visit to Boston since his decision.
West is averaging 11.8 points and seven rebounds in six games for the 4-2 Pacers.
"I just felt like it was the best opportunity for me right now," West said of the Pacers. "They're a team and where I was in terms of my career, the fact they were the main team that came after me in terms of my free agency played a big part of it."
West said the Boston deal was overblown.
"I think a lot of that was a lot more media than actual substance," he said this morning. "I found out like everybody else did on TV that I was close to signing. There were in discussions but I just don't think in terms of the seriousness of what was going on, people really know what was out there for me."
Ray Allen said last month that West made a mistake by passing on the Celtics and an opportunity to win a title in favor of a team perhaps expected to do nothing more than make the playoffs.
"Man he just didn't know that facts, all the things that were involved in the situation," West said. "I don't get caught up in stuff like that. It's one of those things when guys don't know all the information that's out there, it's kinda of a situation where they are more responsive about where they were and the situations there were dealing with."
West made a pointed statement about the perception of the Celtics. He noted a reason he did not want to sign a long-term deal here was that the window is closing quickly, perhaps faster than he wanted.
"In Boston, everybody is kinda realistic about the window that the Celtics have," he said. "Me looking at where I'm at. I think my window is a little bit wider. This young team here (the Pacers), the next few seasons have the piece to be able to compete."