David West: Celtics' interest overblown

BOSTON -- Pacers forward David West, in town for Friday night's game against the Celtics, faced the Boston media for the first time to answer questions about why he chose to sign with Indiana over a sign-and-trade deal that would have landed him in the Hub.

"I just felt like (Indiana) was the best opportunity for me right now, in terms of their team and where I was in terms of my career," West said after the morning shootaround. "The fact that they really were the main team that came after me in terms of free agency, that played a big part in it for me."

An unrestricted free agent, West was deciding between a two-year, $20 million deal with the Pacers and a three-year, $29 million contract with the Celtics. From West's point of view, the Celtics' interest in him was "more media than actual substance. I found out just like everybody else did on TV that I was close to signing."

So did the Celtics ever come to his agent and formally make an offer?

"Yeah, there were discussions," West said. "But like I said, I just don't think, in terms of the seriousness of what was going on, people didn't know honestly what was out there for me."

West's decision was a head-scratcher in these parts because Boston is an aging team built to win now, while Indiana is young and talented, but not in the upper-echelon of the Eastern Conference.

"You know, I just think that -- I think everybody's kind of realistic about the window that the Celtics have," West said. "I think, me, looking at where I am, I think my window's a little bit wider. I'm only 31, so I figure with this young team here, in the next few seasons we have the pieces to be able to compete. We've talked about it -- maybe not this year, but definitely in a couple years. In terms of maturity and keeping this core together, the pieces are here to get up there."

After West chose Indiana, Celtics guard Ray Allen questioned his decision as maybe one that was one about money and not with winning in mind. Did those comments rub West the wrong way?

"No. Man, he just didn't know the facts, didn't know all the things that were involved in the situation," West said. "I don't get caught up in stuff like that. It's just one of those things where, when guys don't know all the information that's out there, it was kind of a situation where I think he was being more responsive in terms of just where (the Celtics) were, and some of the situations they were dealing with."

For his part, Allen said Friday that his comments were taken out of context and wished West well in his decision to sign with Indiana.

Tom Lakin is a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com.