Prospect Of Working With Clippers Ownership, Doc Rivers Drew Jerry West Back To L.A.
The allure of working with Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer and investor Dennis Wong, as well as coach and President of Basketball Operations Doc Rivers, is "what pulled" Jerry West back to L.A., according to Broderick Turner of the L.A. TIMES. Ballmer and Wong, friends since their college days at Harvard, were "instrumental in pulling off the coup to get West." Wong once had a small ownership stake with the Warriors and "saw how West worked wonders in his six years with that team, helping turn" the Warriors into "today’s NBA power." Wong "persisted, and West finally relented." West said that an "agreement for him to work for the Clippers is in place ... but no contract had been signed." West: "For me, life is about passion. Life is about being around people you want to be around. In my meeting with Steve and Dennis Wong, they were great. ... (Ballmer) is going to be one of the great owners that this league has." West said that he "came away impressed with their vision." He "liked the front office that's spearheaded" by Clippers Exec VP/Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank. West said, "I will really miss that Warriors organization. I really will. But honestly, there was nothing left for me to do." West's son, Lakers Dir of Player Personnel Ryan West, "probably will join the Clippers in some capacity" (L.A. TIMES, 6/16).
SOMETHING NEW: SI.com's Rob Mahoney noted the challenges of "maintaining the league’s most well-oiled machine are apparently not so interesting to West." West, now 79, might "not be in a position to run a team himself anymore." Still he "clearly loves the grind of improvement and the boldness involved in making moves." Consultancy is "perfect for him." West is "not the sort of executive to be around the team constantly, though his voice is always heard when it matters." He brings "clout, experience, and most of all: intelligent dissent." Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson was so "put off by West’s demeanor that he requested that West not attend practices or team functions." Yet in the collaborative environment fostered by coach Steve Kerr and Warriors GM & President of Basketball Operations Bob Myers, West "brought a valuable, counterbalancing skepticism." West is a "prestige hiring for a franchise without much of it -- both around the league and within the region." His name "means something." His input "means even more, particularly for a franchise that could use a little dissent in its ranks" (SI.com, 6/15). ESPN's Byron Scott said West has "touched gold" everywhere he has gone in his front-office career. Scott: "The best move the Clippers have made since they moved to Los Angeles was getting Jerry West." ESPN's Amin Elhassan said West "brings legitimacy" to the Clippers ("The Jump," ESPN, 6/15).
COMING HOME? In California, Mark Heisler writes no one "imagined it would be the Clippers who brought West home." No one is "sure what he was making" with the Warriors. But a source guessed that he was making $1M. Assuming the Clippers have "agreed to pay" him $2-3M, that is "chump change in an age in which teams get" almost $90M in national TV revenue. Those are paired with "huge local deals ($120 million for the Lakers, $50 million for the Clippers)." For what it is worth, the Lakers are "no longer the fat cats in town." The Clippers "charge more than they do for the courtside seats that Jack Nicholson, et al., sit in." West's "greatest gift is the big picture." Heisler: "Unfortunately for the Clippers, they have the same problem everyone in the league does -- the Warriors" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 6/16). ESPN's LZ Granderson said of the West move, "The only thing I question is what -- again -- does this say about the Los Angeles Lakers?" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 6/15).