The Los Angeles Clippers basketball team is expected to make official Monday what everyone already knows: Lakers legend Jerry West is joining that other NBA team in LA.
The Clippers scheduled what it describes as “a major news conference” at a practice facility in Playa Vista. West told the Los Angeles Times he would be joining the Clippers as a consultant.
“I want to see the Clippers get to where the owner (Steve Ballmer) and the people who work there internally want to go,” West told The Times. “They have some really lofty goals over there, really lofty goals, and they thought I can help. I’m thrilled that I was wanted. I’m thrilled that they thought I could help and I’m hopeful that I can.”
The Clippers have qualified for the playoffs in six consecutive seasons but have never reached the Western Conference finals during their 39 seasons in California — six in San Diego and 33 in Los Angeles. The Clippers 2016-17 season ended with a first-round, seven-game playoff loss to the Utah Jazz.
The team is facing the potential loss of all-stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to free agency.
The 79-year-old West has spent the past six seasons as an executive board member with the Golden State Warriors doing “a myriad of things, most importantly serving as a sounding board and providing input to (general manager Bob Myers) and ownership on the team on everything related to basketball operations — trades, free agency, draft, etc.,” Warriors Vice President, Communications, Raymond Ridder said.
West was appointed as the Los Angeles Lakers general manager before the 1982-83 season. His personnel moves and trades helped the team to three NBA championships in the 1980s and three more in the 2000s. His most memorable deals include the 1996 draft day trade that brought Kobe Bryant to the Lakers.
West left the Lakers in 2002 to become president of basketball operations with the Memphis Grizzlies. He was selected as NBA Executive of the Year in 2004 and retired in 2007.
—City News Service
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