The Los Angeles Lakers and Jerry West may have closed the doors on one another, but that might not stop “The Logo” from returning to LA. West has spoken with LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer about the potential of taking on an advisory role with the franchise, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
This comes on the back of a report by Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News that West’s previous interest in re-joining the Lakers in a similar role has diminished since the hiring of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. Based on the numerous reports from different reporters that have come out regarding the West-Lakers situation, it seems clear that West made it known that he was intrigued with a role in the team’s front office.
The timeline of his reported interest and the Lakers decision to hand the keys to Magic was unclear between the various reports, but Bill Oram of the OC Register helps clarify some of the timeline. It seems West was a candidate to take over for Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, and was “excited” about the chance to come home to the Lakers (via OC Register):
Before Buss hired Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka in February to lead the Lakers’ front office, West was regarded as a candidate to rejoin the mix, and those close to the Hall of Famer have indicated he was excited about a potential homecoming.
“He wanted it more than anything,” one source said.
West’s future is in question as his contract with the Golden State Warriors expires in July. Warriors owner Joe Lacob has asked West to stay with the franchise, but it sounds like he’s going to weigh his options before making that decision.
The Clippers could definitely use West’s touch, failing to make it past the second round of the NBA Playoffs and getting discarded in the first round in each of the past two seasons. They also have the impending free agency of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to deal with, and having West to help navigate that would be a huge boost.
Why the Lakers didn’t consider an advisory role for West alongside Magic and Pelinka is unclear, but the franchise is clearly all-in on a future led by the duo. West has a proven track record, was the architect of much of the Lakers’ championship success, and is still making an impact in the NBA.