On one hand, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally refusing to look to their past to figure out their future. On the other, if we’re to believe the latest report from the Orange County Register’s Mark Heisler, the Lakers are passing on what seems like a fairly easy decision.
Per Heisler, Jerry West is reportedly interested in a return to the organization he won titles on and off the court for. The feeling is not mutual. West would be coming back to a role as a consultant not unlike his current gig with the Golden State Warriors.
Without getting into questioning Heisler’s reporting, it seems weird that the organization that currently employs Jerry’s son, Ryan West, would pass on adding such a historically brilliant executive mind to the brain trust currently tasked with returning the Lakers to the heights the fan base is used to.
You know, above the 30-win range.
Here’s where the report becomes a little dubious. West is currently still employed by the Warriors and can’t really communicate with the Lakers until permission is granted or their season ends.
In the only opportunity West had to bump into Johnson (Shaq’s statue unveiling), Magic was away scouting Lonzo Ball.
The Lakers also love a story. West returning to the Lakers to help fellow Laker great Magic Johnson while Ryan continues to be groomed just feels like too much headline to pass up.
It’s also kind of hard to run with Heisler’s line of thinking when, immediately before this bomb, he showed a complete lack of understanding what goes into tanking.
The intimation throughout the article (before the West report) was that the Lakers somehow bungled tanking, leading to losing important ping pong balls in the process.
Heisler is not alone in this fallacy, so just for anyone paying attention:
Did you see the lineups the Lakers rolled out there late in the season?
David Nwaba barely made the D-Fenders heading into this year. He finished the season starting.
Tyler Ennis was on the verge of losing his spot in the NBA, let alone any team’s rotation. He also saw the starting lineup a couple times.
Thomas Robinson spoke about being seen as a draft bust, yet was playing almost 17 minutes per night during the Lakers’ last five games.
Heisler mentioned how D’Angelo Russell saw the bench while the Lakers did what they could to avoid getting leapfrogged by the Phoenix Suns, whose tank was apparently made of adamantium.
Holding that five-game winning streak against anyone involved is cheap, and I’ll go out on a limb and predict that had the Lakers finished the season on a losing streak and kept their pick, it would have been a referendum somehow on the state of the franchise.
West is obviously within his right to show interest in coming back to the Lakers.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are similarly allowed to welcome his return if and when the decision crosses their desk, which can’t have happened yet -- not legally, anyway.
The lottery is still a month away and the end of the Warriors’ season is still further off in the distance. Let’s just calm down in the meantime.