NEW ORLEANS, La — The New Orleans Hornets announced today that forward David West has declined his player option for the 2011-12 season and opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. West had until June 30 to notify the Hornets if he was taking his player option for next season.
"David has been a tremendous player and person for us on and off the court during his eight-years with the Hornets," General Manager Dell Demps said. "We have had open communication with David this entire season about his option and knew with either decision that our intention is to pursue David so he can finish his career as a Hornet."
"After many months of talking with the people around me, this is the best decision for myself as a player and my future," West said. "I love the city of New Orleans and have spent my whole career with the Hornets and am fortunate to be with such a supportive organization. I am continuing my rehab to get back on the court as soon as I can and look forward to conversations with the Hornets about my future and potentially continuing my career in New Orleans."
West sustained a torn MCL on March 24 against Utah that ended his season. His rehab time timetable was set at 6 to 8 months and he is currently rehabbing at home in Raleigh, NC. David averaged a team-high 18.9 points to go along with 7.6 rebounds in 70 games (all starts) last season.
"David's rehab is progressing very well and he is excited about his return to the court next season," West's agent Lance Young said. "David is a very smart person and this decision was well thought out. We feel this is best for David's career and we want to thank the Hornets for being behind David 100%."
Selected by New Orleans with the 18th pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, West has spent all eight seasons of his professional career in a Hornets uniform. The two-time All-Star holds career averages of 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds over 530 games (438 starts). The 30-year-old West’s career totals rank him in the top five in franchise history in a number of categories, including: games played (530, 3rd), minutes played (17,160, 4th), points scored (8,690, 2nd), total rebounds (3,853, 2nd) and blocks (435, 3rd).