LAKERS legend Jerry West is set to move to a Los Angeles rival, as the iconic executive is reportedly leaving his post as special consultant with the Golden State Warriors to take on a similar role with the Clippers.
In a report by Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time), the 79-year-old West made his decision in the last couple of weeks to end his six-year stay with the Warriors as adviser and take on a new challenge with the Clippers.
West, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame both as a player and an executive, served as general manager for two Laker dynasties — the Showtime era in the 80s and the Shaq-Kobe three-peat in the early 2000s.
With the Warriors, he was also one of the respected advisers in turning what was once a lowly franchise into a two-time champion. West was instrumental in discouraging a Klay Thompson-for-Kevin Love trade the Warriors were considering with the Minnesota Timberwolves, before Love got sent to the Cavs.
In a separate ESPN report, West bared that no contract has yet been signed between him and the Clippers but he shared that the Warriors’ title-clinching game on Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers was his final day with Golden State.
“I knew I was going to be leaving. I didn't know what I was going to be leaving to. Was this the end of me being productive? Every person is different in terms of their lives and how people age. I don't feel old, I feel really competitive,” he said.
"Sometimes you need to be challenged. I've kind of been defiant my whole life, the way I was raised, and I think this is like the defiant streak in me. I don't know," added West.
West said he’s forever grateful for his time with the Warriors, but he pointed out that he’s looking forward to team up with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers as well as general manager Lawrence Frank.
"I'm very intrigued. I worked for a great owner [with the Los Angeles Lakers] in Jerry Buss. I worked for a fantastic owner in Michael Heisley in Memphis. I worked for a fantastic group of people up [at Golden State]. And this owner [Ballmer] is going to be that kind of an owner,” said West.
“He's a winner and he wants to win. He will let Doc and Lawrence Frank make decisions, and hopefully, I can help. That's really all I care about. I don't want to be the story. I don't want to be the headline. I'm going to have the same role as I did up there," he added.
The move is believed to be part of the Clippers strategy to entice key free agents and retain their stars, particularly Chris Paul who has reportedly been intrigued about joining the San Antonio Spurs.