David West took a risk Monday when he announced he was opting out of his current contract with the New Orleans Hornets to file for free agency.

It's a gamble for West in a couple of respects. He's coming off surgery after tearing the ACL in his left knee on March 24.

And he's also putting aside a chance to earn $7.5 million this season with the Hornets in order to test the free agent market in perhaps the league's most uncertain economic time ever.

West was in the midst of having a quality season when he went down with his knee injury, averaging a team-leading 18.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Hornets before missing the final 10 games of the season and the playoffs.

He's been rehabbing from his injury twice a day and is said to be ahead of schedule as he works at his off-season home in Raleigh, N.C., to prepare for the upcoming season. The injury was expected to idle him for six to eight months, but an extended lockout would obviously give him extra time to prepare as he readies himself for the 2011-12 season.

The most interesting comment he made in a story this morning in the New Orleans Times-Picayune is the primary reason he would potentially bolt from the Hornets.

"I want to win and win big," West told the Times-Picayune, adding that he decided on his move before the injury.