Jerry West is heading back to LA. Not to rejoin his beloved Lakers though, but rather the team that has recently taken the Los Angeles reigns from the historic purple and gold. This past Wednesday, “The Logo” (one of my favorite nicknames ever) accepted a position with the Los Angeles Clippers after a six-year tenure with the newly crowned NBA champs, the Golden State Warriors.
West joined the Warriors back in 2011 when the franchise was building into the powerhouse they are today. His first move, drafting Klay Thompson out of Washington State with the 11th overall pick. The very next year they picked an “undersized” Draymond Green who redefined the power forward position. A short two years later, Steve Kerr was hired as head coach and Steph Curry emerged into one of the league’s biggest superstars. Last summer, after a crushing collapse against LeBron and the Cavaliers, West convinced former league MVP Kevin Durant to join the dubs. Jerry West is playing chess, two steps ahead of everyone carefully planning his next move.
As Mr. Clutch goes back to LA, he’ll have three main responsibilities.
Keep Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in LA
In 11 days NBA free agency begins. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s contracts will expire, and maybe also their time with the Clippers. West’s main job will be to work out a deal where they both stay in LA. Rumors have been circulating that Chris Paul is considering the Spurs, while Blake Griffin’s future is more uncertain.
I’m really hoping they coordinate a deal with State Farm to pull a hostage situation again where Doc, DeAndre, Jamal Crawford, and State Farm executives team up to wait out a new contract. To kill the time, they film more commercials. Everybody wins, and I won’t have to hear about baseball 24/7 on every sports media outlet. I’ll take my thank you and cut anytime, Jerry.
Get LeBron to LA
If the Clips haven’t entered “win now” mode they most certainly will after a predictable all-too-familiar second round boot from the 2018 playoffs. Following an even more likely fourth consecutive match up between the Warriors and Cavs, LeBron James will be entering free agency again. I think he’s learned not to make another “Decision”, but there’s already been talks of James wanting to take his talents to Venice Beach. West was able to convince one superstar to change locations. Who says he can’t do it again?
Get over the choking spree
When you think Los Angeles basketball you think of Magic, Kareem, James Worthy, Kobe and Shaq. You don’t think of little brother’s team who has a long history of being ran off the court. The Clippers have been that team until finding recent success with the arrival of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and DeAndre Jordan. However, it depends how you define success because the Clips have a trend of looking like a top-three team midway through the season before under performing in the playoffs. On paper, they should have the tools to compete with the beasts of the West in Golden State and San Antonio, but for some reason they can’t figure it out. Jerry will have to work some magic during free agency this summer while having no picks in the draft this Thursday to find the missing piece to this unsolved puzzle. Followed by a necessary sit down with Doc Rivers to figure out why he can’t bring this team together too.
With the announcement of leaving the Staples Center for an Inglewood based arena, the Clippers are making moves to become more than that “other team” in the city of angels. They will have a new arena and practice facility that is truly their own to attract fans as well as players to work for championships wearing red, white, and blue rather than purple and gold. They seem to be thinking long term, but Clippers fans’ mouths are watering, longing for some taste of success after so many years of mediocrity. I have faith that Jerry West will figure it out.
Me whenever Austin Rivers gets playing time.