Clippers’ interest in Jerry West should scare the Los Angeles Lakers
A recent Bill Plaschke article begged the question, can the Lakers afford to see what the Clippers would become with Jerry West in the fold?
It is an important question to ask considering the Lakers have lost to the Clippers 18 out of 20 times, per the same article.
Plaschke’s article points out that Lakers seem unlikely to bring on West since they handed the regime over to Magic Johnson in February. Despite West’s role in two major Lakers dynasties, Plaschke points out that there was only room for one legend in the front office.
Do we really expect West, the guy nicknamed the logo, to work under a fellow Lakers legend that he probably mentored?
Nonetheless, West acknowledged the Clippers rumors and immediately shut them down. It should not come as a surprise considering the team he consults is still competing for an NBA title. Further, the 79-year-old does not have his contract expire until July.
Either way, West does make a ton of sense for the Clippers. The Clippers are headed for one of the biggest offseasons in history. All-stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin can both leave the team via options. The franchise’s two biggest stars ever could put the Clippers into a complete rebuild if they bounce in free agency. Maybe, hiring West convinces both of them to return for another chance championship run?
Granted, Paul and Griffin would leave a ton of money on the table. Thus, West could help the Clippers figure out how to get over the top with a core of Griffin, Paul and DeAndre Jordan. Considering those three players will consume most of the Clippers’ cap space, it is even more challenging to fill out a championship roster. Especially since the Clippers do not have a ton of upcoming draft picks.
Thus, the Clippers hiring West would give the organization hope that they can figure out this difficult offseason. Hiring West as a consultant means that Doc Rivers can also deflect some of his roster and management decisions. Let’s be honest, Doc the president of basketball operations has not done much to help Doc the head coach.
Otherwise, Clippers fans will find themselves questioning the organization’s loyalty to a coach who never got the team farther than the second round. Rivers was hired to get the team over the hump, but he has not gotten the team any farther than previous coach Vinny Del Negro. To make matters worse, Rivers has built his own roster.
Lastly, the Clippers were one of the last teams to knock Golden State out of the playoffs. That tough series in 2014 bred a rivalry between the teams. Now, the Clippers have a chance to poach a key figure from that Golden State front office. The Warriors pretty much set the blueprint for developing a championship team. Could West help the Clippers surpass the Warriors in the Western Conference?
Both Los Angeles team could use that knowledge to build a contender or rebuild their franchises. Regardless, it appears the Clippers desperately need West’s vision as they head towards an offseason filled with uncertainty.
Ultimately, West may not decide to join the Clippers. Why would he want to leave the Warriors when he has it so good? Would West want to start a rebuild with the Clippers? Not to mention, would the great executive want to inherit the Clippers’ cap woes and draft pick misfortunes? He could just use the Clippers’ interest for leverage to get more money out of the Warriors, the same way players use teams as leverage in free agency.
At the end of the day, the Clippers may never surpass the Lakers in terms of fans’ dollars and attention in Los Angeles. Anyone in L.A. can tell you that the Lakers’ winning ways have cemented them into the City’s culture.
However, the Clippers adding Jerry West certainly could not hurt. At the very least, adding Jerry West could be the beginning to the Clippers building a winning culture that would rival their Staples Center co-tenants.
Could Jerry West break the Clippers curse and losing misfortunes? Like Plaschke, I don’t think the Lakers want to find out that answer.
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