It’s the weekend of July 21, 2013, and Summer League is going strong in Las Vegas. There, deep in the desert city that is one day destined to host an NBA team, a plethora of unproven rookies and borderline veterans are playing like their careers depend on it.

Twelve hundred miles away in Dallas, in a multi-room apartment he shares with his pregnant wife, Delonte West alternatively works out anxiously and waits by his phone eagerly. He knows his eight-year NBA career hangs in the balance. And West knows, after being cut this past October 29 by the Dallas Mavericks for disciplinary reasons and sitting out the entire 2012-13 season, that he’s not ready for it to be over.

“I had tears in my eyes watching games this past year—not because I’m bipolar, but because I’m sitting at home and miss the game” West says. “When my agent calls, I’m going to be on the next flight. Not to be cocky, but some teams that are trying to win are one guard away, one guy that can make a couple great plays away from going to the Finals.

“Well, I’m right here,” he continues. “Y’all know it and I know it.”

Yes, a lot of people do know that the 6-3 West has the skills to be on an NBA roster.

“He could definitely provide depth at guard for a contender,” says one NBA scout who asked to remain anonymous.

Those same people, though, also offer doubts. “Talent isn’t the question,” says the scout. “It comes down to whether or not he’s worth the potential off-court headache.”

And that’s why West, who has been avoiding the media as best as he can since his dismissal from the Mavericks, spoke with SLAM. It’s time, the native of the DMV says, to clear the air. It’s time, West hopes, to pave the way for his return.