Jerry West is one of the most iconic NBA players of all time, known for his star days as a Los Angeles Laker in the 1960’s and early 1970’s. He is in fact the person depicted in the NBA logo. In the past couple decades, Jerry West was a successful general manager of the Lakers and Grizzlies, winning Executive of the Year once with each franchise.
West has been a consultant to the Warriors since 2011 and has had a significant role in team operations with the team. He reportedly lobbied hard for drafting Klay Thompson in 2011 and threatened to quit the franchise if it traded Thompson for Love in 2014. It’s safe to say his expertise is one of many reasons why the Warriors are the superteam they are today.
West’s contract with the team ended after this past season and Warriors owner Joe Lacob expressed his interest in bringing him back. It was a surprise when West announced he would be joining the Clippers in June.
After superstar Chris Paul’s departure this summer, the Clippers are currently in an odd position of retooling their team around Blake Griffin. It’s a much different situation from where the Warriors are.
West had fond words for the Warriors organization, saying it was one of the best places he’d ever worked.
You don’t always in your life have a chance to work in environments like that. And the ownership group, to have that many diverse people who were so successful. To see the decisions that were made up there to make this possible… it was kind of a storybook six years to be honest with you.
But ultimately, though it was tough to leave, it was time to return home to Southern California.
Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was. A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there...It was time for me to leave. I’m in Los Angeles again. For me, I’ll have a chance to go in the office a little bit and watch some of the people that have been hired, to watch our coaches coach. I’ve often said I’ve done some crazy things in my life because of the timing and maybe the timing was right.
West also discussed how dominant the Warriors were, and how they’ll be the best for a long while.
Everyone talks about, ‘well, this team is loading up to beat the Warriors, right? Well, everyone’s playing for second place right now...There are too many players there. They’re all in the prime of their careers. To me the best years of a player’s life are from 28 to 33. I just think that these guys are going to get better as a team.
I think people finally see how great Kevin Durant is. He’s one of those players that doesn’t come along very often; and you have a personality like Steph who is just as good a person as you want to find as a player. I saw Dahntay Jones say (Curry isn't) a top-10 player. Well, I know Dahntay pretty well, but I want him to be assured that (Curry is) more than a top-10 player, OK?
Jerry West also defended Kevin Durant from the criticism he’s received for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And at the end of the day with all the negative, nasty things that were said about Kevin...I just felt thrilled. And I think one of the things that’s unbelievably amazing to me is how Kevin Durant gets criticized and Gordon Hayward does not get criticized (for leaving a small-market team as a free agent) to the extent that Kevin did. It makes no sense to me at all.
Jerry West may have left for a new opportunity, better compensation, location, or a variety of other reasons. Regardless, he will forever be known among Warriors fans as one of the architects of the Warriors’ renaissance under owner Joe Lacob and superstar Stephen Curry.