HOFer Jerry West To Leave Warriors And Join Clippers As Special Consultant
Basketball HOFer Jerry West in the coming days will "become a special consultant" to the Clippers in a role similar to that he "played with the Warriors for six years," according to Jack McCallum of SI.com. West had "been in touch with the Clippers, particularly owner Steve Ballmer, over the last couple of months after it started to become evident that he and the Warriors were ending a relationship." Sources said that a "strain had developed between West and the ownership group." But McCallum noted it is "clear" this is "his decision to leave." West "never had the final say on anything in Golden State and never wanted it." However, West was "always a respected voice." With the Clippers, West faces a challenge -- the team has no draft picks in '17 and there also is the "looming free agency of its two stars," G Chris Paul and F Blake Griffin. For the first year at least, it is a "solid bet that West will be much more involved than he was" with the Warriors (SI.com, 6/14). In L.A., Broderick Turner cited a league official as saying that West "took the Clippers’ job because he wants another challenge after helping the Warriors acquire Kevin Durant last summer" and then watching the team on Monday win its second title in three years. A source said that though his deal with the Warriors "runs through July, the Warriors gave the Clippers permission to speak with West." Even after West met with Ballmer and President of Basketball Operations/coach Doc Rivers on May 30 at the team’s practice facility, sources said that West "'twice changed his mind' before deciding Wednesday that he wanted to join the Clippers." A source said that there is a "strong chance" that West's son, Lakers Dir of Player Personnel Ryan West, will "join the Clippers in some capacity" (L.A. TIMES, 6/15). West said that he "enjoyed his time" with the Warriors. West: "The ownership did a hell of a job creating an environment that's fun. You see a lot of happy faces up there. I'll be forever grateful they gave me an opportunity to be involved" (ESPN.com, 6/14).
SHOT OF CREDIBILITY: In California, Bill Oram notes West's presence will "lend an heir of stability to a Clippers organization that is only beginning to rise above a history of losing, penny-pinching and scandal" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/15). CBSSPORTS.com's Chris Barnewall notes if West can "help turn the Clippers into a title contender that might be an even greater accomplishment than what he's done" with the Warriors. The Clippers are the "classic second tier franchise" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/15). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami notes this will be a "major loss for the Warriors." West's arrival six years ago as a consultant "signaled a change." It "showed that the new Warriors leaders valued league-wide credibility, honesty, risk-taking, aggression and a connection to greatness" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/15).
DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN: In L.A., Bill Plaschke notes the move is "filled with Clippers' credibility and hope," but it also is "full of Lakers' embarrassment and dread." Lakers fans "used to laugh at the Clippers," but those laughs are now "surely turning to cries of frustation at the organization that let [West] get away." During this time when it "seems the Lakers would seemingly need West’s wisdom the most, he’s a Clipper, and that cut runs deep" (L.A. TIMES, 6/15).