Jerry West

Jerry West To Return To Clippers For Another Season

Jerry West will return to the Clippers as a consultant for another season, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times reports.

West is one of three key front office members who decided to remain with the franchise this offseason. The Wolves pursued GM Michael Winger and the Pelicans aimed to poach assistant GM Trent Redden, though both executives turned down promotions to stay in Los Angeles.

West, whose Hall-of-Fame NBA career began in 1960, joined the Clippers in June of 2017 as an advisor and he assisted in the overhaul from the Lob City era to the current state of the franchise, which is in position to pursue two max-level free agents. Kawhi Leonard is expected to be a top target this offseason. The team will also pursue Kevin Durant.

L.A. Notes: Pelinka, LeBron, Rivers, Lawsuit

All signs point to Rob Pelinka having full power to run the Lakers in the wake of Magic Johnson’s resignation, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. Sources tell Amick that the team didn’t contact David Griffin, LeBron James‘ former GM in Cleveland, before he joined the Pelicans earlier this month. They also didn’t try to lure GM Bob Myers from the Warriors or consultant Jerry West from the Clippers.

Pelinka has orchestrated the coaching search ever since the team parted ways with Luke Walton, Amick adds. He identified Tyronn Lue, Monty Williams, Juwan Howard and Jason Kidd as candidates and organized their interviews.

Although Pelinka is running the show, the number of people with a voice in front office decisions has grown since Johnson left. In addition to Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss, the interviews with Lue and Howard were attended by president of business operations Tim Harris, VP of research and development Joey Buss and assistant GM and director of scouting Jesse Buss.

There’s more today from L.A.:

  • James plans to stay out of personnel decisions and will trust Lakers management to assemble a playoff contender, Amick reports in the same story. LeBron bristles at suggestions that he serves as de facto GM wherever he goes and plans to stay out of the spotlight this summer. He released an Instagram video this week proclaiming his faith in the front office.
  • The Clippers‘ performance this year set a foundation for what could be a vastly improved roster next season, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Doc Rivers‘ team gained respect throughout the league by reaching the postseason after trading away leading scorer Tobias Harris in February. “When you are knocked out of the playoffs there’s obviously some times it’s a relief,” Rivers said. “And there are some times you just don’t want it to happen and last night was one of those points. Just the sense of disappointment — even though you know the group you had overachieved, you still don’t want it to end.”
  • A lawsuit contesting the Clippers‘ proposed new Inglewood arena is moving forward, reports Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has rejected an attempt to block the suit, which was filed by Uplift Inglewood, a community group dedicated to affordable housing.

L.A. Notes: Lakers, Lue, Williams, Clippers, West

As we detailed earlier this week, Tyronn Lue‘s meeting with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka about the team’s head coaching vacancy is taking place today, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).

Lue has experience coaching LeBron James in Cleveland, which could be a point in his favor as Pelinka and the Lakers weigh their options for Luke Walton‘s replacement. As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst writes, coaching James isn’t without its challenges, but if a coach comes in with a game plan, holds LeBron accountable, and is prepared for push-back, he can succeed.

Lue and Monty Williams are among the candidates apparently in the running for the Lakers’ job, though both men have reportedly been warned to proceed with caution. As Colton Jones of Amico Hoops relays, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne said during an appearance on 710 ESPN that “everyone in the league” has told Williams not to take the job, while Jorge Sedano of ESPN said one of Lue’s close friends has given the former Cavs coach a similar warning.

It remains to be seen which direction the Lakers are leaning, or whether they’ll expand their search beyond Lue, Williams, and Juwan Howard. However, Shelburne also notes that it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Williams prefers to remain with the Sixers, where he’s an assistant on Brett Brown‘s staff. His family is settled there, and he could be next in line if Philadelphia were to move on from Brown, says Shelburne (via Jones).

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles teams:

  • According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there’s no indication that the Lakers plan to reach out to Clippers consultant Jerry West about the possibility of returning to the franchise following Magic Johnson‘s resignation from his president of basketball operations role. For his part, West said he’s preparing for an eventful offseason with the Clippers, but made no guarantees about his role next season and beyond. “Well, as far as I can tell, I really don’t have a future, OK? My future is now,” West told Amick. “I don’t really worry about that. I worry about getting through this season, and really concentrating – all of us, concentrating – on free agency.”
  • Although they fell back to earth last night, the fact that the Clippers made the postseason and are capable of performances like their Game 2 win over Golden State bodes well for the pitch they can make to free agents this summer, writes Shaun Powell of NBA.com. Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times conveys a similar sentiment, writing that the club’s future is bright regardless of what happens in the playoffs.
  • In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a deep dive into the Lakers’ offseason, exploring the head coaching search, the possibility of revisiting Anthony Davis trade talks, the club’s free agency options, and more.

Stein’s Latest: West, Raptors, DeRozan, Budenholzer

While president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank and owner Steve Ballmer will ultimately make personnel decisions for the Clippers this summer, consultant Jerry West – who will represent the franchise at Tuesday’s draft lottery – figures to have a “significant say,” writes Marc Stein of The New York Times.

“I don’t just want to be a figurehead,” West said of his role with the Clippers. “You want to be a part of the decision-making process. I don’t have the final decision here, but I do have a voice.”

Within his look at West’s role in Los Angeles, Stein notes that the veteran executive helped convince the Clippers to go through with the Blake Griffin trade, even if it made the team look bad after having just extended Griffin seven months earlier. West, who felt his influence was fading in Golden State, elected to ink a two-year contract with L.A. last summer, and may ultimately stay with the franchise longer than that.

“If he still wants to do it, we can go beyond that,” said Clippers owner Ballmer. “Now that I know him better, I can’t see him retiring.”

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Within his weekly newsletter for The Times, Stein writes that “word is” the Raptors quietly explored the possibility of trading DeMar DeRozan during the 2017 offseason. That doesn’t mean that the Raps want to move DeRozan or that they’ll explore trade options for him again this summer. However, Stein fully expects Toronto to do its due diligence on the trade market — not just with DeRozan, but with everyone on the roster.
  • There’s a general belief that the Milwaukee head coaching job is the one Mike Budenholzer wants most, but that’s not a lock, according to Stein, who suggests that the former Hawks coach will have multiple meetings with both the Bucks and Raptors. Stein writes that Budenholzer “could well have preferences that outsiders aren’t privy to” after those meetings. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has said that the Raptors opened talks with Budenholzer over the weekend and continued those conversations on Monday, while Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweeted today that Toronto has already met with Budenholzer.
  • Speaking of the Raptors‘ head coaching job, Stein also reported on Monday that Toronto is interviewing assistants Nick Nurse and Rex Kalamian for that position today.

Celtics Notes: Hayward, West, Roster

With a series of videos updating his recovery progress, Gordon Hayward has been fueling speculation that despite long odds, he could suit up for the Celtics before the end of the season. However, head coach Brad Stevens gave his most definitive statement to date, declaring Hayward as done for the year, Michael Singer of USA Today Sports writes.

“He’s not playing this year,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what else to say. Is he progressing? Yes. … It’s great, and I think that the videos are great too because it continues to show the progress because sometimes when you’re in the midst of that long rehab you don’t feel the progress of the day-to-day the way now we all might see a video or somebody that hasn’t seen him may see a video, and say ‘man he is really getting better.’ But he’s super long way away from even being in on a 1-on-0 workout where he’s cutting.”

Hayward suffered a gruesome broken ankle on opening night against the Cavaliers — his first game in Boston green. The Celtics have added players to the roster and relied heavily on youngsters such as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum in Hayward’s absence. He is expected to be ready for the 2018/19 season.

Check out other Celtics news and notes below:

  • NBA legend Jerry West, a current consultant to the Clippers front office, admires the work that Danny Ainge has done to rebuild the Celtics’ roster and put the team near the top of the Eastern Conference, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald writes. “Danny’s done a nice job back there,” West said. “Are they good enough? They had a terrible break with a very good player (Gordon Hayward), and are they good enough now? At the end of a couple of years, they’re going to be judged by that, by how they’re doing then — not by now. They’ve got some good young players. They’ve got a terrific coach. They’ve got a lot of positive things going, that’s for sure.”
  • One of the most talked-about trade scenarios in recent years has been Anthony Davis joining the Celtics. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer opines that the Celtics would be better off pouncing on the next major name that becomes available instead of waiting on Davis, who may or may not ever become available.

Knicks Reached Out To Jerry West About Executive Role

The Knicks attempted to lure Jerry West to the franchise this past summer after deciding to part ways with Phil Jackson, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News. West told the team through back channels that it wasn’t the right time to come to New York, and ended up taking an advisory role with the Clippers instead.

New York’s current regime, led by team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry, appears to be more professionally run than the old group, Lawrence writes — several players have told him that there has been a positive effect from the Knicks’ orderly front office.

“The atmosphere is a lot better,” veteran Courtney Lee recently said. “It’s always good to have good air. It’s easier to operate as a team, 100 percent, 100 percent, 100 percent. Every day there’s not something new in the media, about what’s being said about who. The whole situation wasn’t good. It was not good air. But now, the air is clear. It makes it easier to play now. I just wish ‘Melo was still here so he could be a part of it.”

Many expected the Knicks to contend for the No. 1 pick, though surprisingly, they’re 11-12. While injuries to Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. may blanket hope of an unexpected eighth-seed run, the franchise appears to be heading the in the right direction after years of drama and uncertainty.

Clippers Notes: Griffin, Teodosic, Backcourt, Defense

Blake Griffin credits NBA legend Jerry West with influencing his decision to remain with the Clippers, writes Shams Charania of The Vertical. Griffin opted out of his contract over the summer, but elected to re-sign with L.A. before talking to any other teams. The new five-year deal, coupled with the trade of Chris Paul, makes Griffin the team’s clear on-court leader.

Griffin was “captivated” by West’s presence at a meeting just before the July 1 start of free agency, according to Charania. The Hall of Famer left the Warriors after last season and joined the Clippers as a special consultant.

“Jerry had a major voice to me, and he’s had an influence in coming and working on the culture here,” Griffin said. “This franchise had unfinished business, and I had unfinished business here. We had unfinished business together and I valued that. We laid it out there that no matter what was going on around us, both sides hadn’t accomplished what we set out for. I couldn’t abandon this now.”

There’s more Clippers news out of Los Angeles:

  • Coach Doc Rivers offered a health update today on Milos Teodosic, saying he was able to ride a stationary bike but there’s no timetable for him to play again, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Teodosic is out indefinitely after leaving last Saturday’s game with a plantar fascia injury.
  • Rivers is trying not to overtax his backcourt with the loss of Teodosic, relays Elliott Teaford of The Orange County Register. The Clippers have just three healthy, experienced guards currently available, and Rivers admits he has been asking them to do too much. “Too many minutes,” he said after this week’s win over Utah. “I didn’t like the minutes. That’ll change. It’s just got to expand it. What we’ve got to figure out is giving Patrick [Beverley] and Austin [Rivers] rest, playing Lou [Williams] and Sindarius [Thornwell], but making sure we have Blake or [Danilo Gallinari] with them.”
  • One key to the Clippers’ 4-0 start has been a significant improvement on defense, Turner writes in an L.A. Times story. The addition of Beverley, who was acquired from Houston in the Chris Paul trade, provides defensive pressure in the backcourt and shot-blocker DeAndre Jordan erases mistakes in the middle. “They want to play ‘D’, which is nice,” Rivers said. “I think they all are on the same page. We have DJ at the basket and Pat on the ball. That’s a great combination.”

Pacific Notes: Clippers, West, Reed

The Clippers were punished by injuries during preseason but regardless of the short-staffed lineups there were observations to be taken away, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. For one, star player Blake Griffin‘s toe appears to have held up despite his having undergone surgery for it in May.

I haven’t had any problems,” Griffin said. “I haven’t sat out any practices. I haven’t had any restrictions. I didn’t really anticipate that. At the beginning of the season, I met with probably four of the top foot surgeons in the United States and I never anticipated sitting out [Clippers] training camp.

Other takeaways from the exhibitions include Milos Teodosic making an immediate impact with his playmaking abilities and Lou Williams seamlessly adopting the sixth man role vacated by Jamal Crawford.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings‘ rebuild is progressing well for a number of different reasons but one of the most obvious is the fact that they have two first-year players in the race for the Rookie of the Year award. By Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee‘s count, both De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic are legitimate contenders for the year-end hardware.
  • The reason Jerry West left his executive role with the Warriors to join up with the Clippers‘ front office is because he would have had to take a pay cut in the realm of $1MM. Daniel Mano of the Mercury News cites an excerpt from Jack McCallum’s book on California basketball.
  • Offseason Clippers addition Willie Reed can have his misdemeanor domestic battery charge dismissed if he agrees to a diversion program, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

Jerry West Talks Dubs, CP3, Dekker, Ballmer, Lakers

Longtime basketball executive Jerry West surprised many NBA observers earlier this offseason when he decided to leave the Warriors for the Clippers. Speaking to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, West acknowledged that he was sad to leave Golden State and had been very happy working for the Warriors, chalking up his decision to timing.

Although he’s a consultant for the Clippers now, West still views the Warriors as the overwhelming favorite to win another championship in 2018, telling Kawakami that “everyone’s playing for second place right now.”

In addition to sharing his lingering fondness for his old team, West also touched on several other noteworthy topics during his discussion with Kawakami. Here are a few highlights:

On whether he knew Chris Paul would leave when he left the Warriors for the Clippers:

“I felt he was. Yes. I didn’t think he was going to stay there. You just get a sense that some players are going to move, you do. You just get a sense… there was all the talk. I know that Steve [Ballmer] met with him. I think Lawrence [Frank] and Doc [Rivers] both met with him. I did not meet with him or talk with him. I just had the sense when I first started talking to them, I asked them, ‘You may not be able to keep either one of these players, him or Blake Griffin.’ I said, ‘How’s that going to work?’ I think they felt there was a chance for sure that he was going to leave.”

On the Clippers moving on without Paul:

“I know some of the people down there [in Houston] and obviously Mike D’Antoni, he’s a friend of mine, he has a place at the Green Brier, and he’s very high on the players we got. He mentioned to me, he said that he thinks they’ll get to play there more and particularly if Sam Dekker can be healthy, he’s a very good prospect. He’s had two seasons of injuries, but he seems very healthy.

“It also gives Doc a chance as a coach to be able to coach differently, more ball movement. Chris was a ball-dominant point guard. [Not having Paul] encourages more movement. When a coach has to do things a little bit differently, that might be challenging but also might be fun for him. Even though we’ll miss Chris, it’s part of the NBA.”

On Clippers owner Steve Ballmer:

“[In] a lot of ways he reminds me of the kind of owners that you want, somebody who’s really committed to trying to build a team. He’s smart, he lets people do their job, he doesn’t think he’s someone who wants to run the team. He’s given Lawrence and Doc a lot of leeway there and they’re going to hire two new people there in the front office. It’s just… I see some changes from the prior regime there that I think are going to be really positive.

On whether he thought he might return to the Lakers rather than joining the Clippers:

“Absolutely not. I had no contact with the Lakers. Honestly, I would’ve never gone back there even if they would’ve contacted me. Never had any conversations, never had a desire there. I knew that would’ve never happened.”

Be sure to check out Kawakami’s full interview with West for more interesting observations from The Logo.

Latest On The Chris Paul Trade

Chris Paul‘s departure from the Clippers today severed a relationship that began to fall apart when the team acquired Austin Rivers in 2015, according to a Facebook post from Michael Eaves of ESPN. Several Clippers believed Rivers brought an entitled attitude to the team because he is the son of coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers. Veterans didn’t think Austin Rivers tried hard enough to fit in, which created dissension in the locker room. Paul, in particular, thought that Austin Rivers got preferential treatment from his father.

The situation reportedly reached a breaking point prior to the trade deadline when the Knicks offered Carmelo Anthony and Sasha Vujacic to L.A. in exchange for Jamal Crawford, Paul Pierce and Austin Rivers. Doc Rivers blocked the deal, which led Paul to believe that coaching his son was more important than winning, with an unidentified league executive saying, “Chris despises Doc.”

There’s more fallout from today’s blockbuster trade:

  • The decision to opt in for the final year of his contract gives Paul more flexibility if he wants to team up with LeBron James next summer, Eaves notes in the same post. He mentions the Rockets, Lakers and possibly the Clippers, if Doc Rivers is gone, as potential destinations for that to happen. In the meantime, Paul can see how well his game meshes with James Harden‘s and gets a financial windfall because Texas doesn’t have a state income tax.
  • Austin Rivers denied on Twitter that he had anything to do with Paul’s desire to leave. “These false rumors are comedy…so fictional it’s actually amusing! People will say or do anything to get attention,” he posted. He concluded the message with “A lot of clowns out there,” using two clown emoji symbols.
  • The Clippers were concerned about the later years of Paul’s next contract, tweets David Aldridge of TNT. A five-year deal in excess of $200MM would have paid Paul nearly $45MM at age 37, and L.A. wasn’t willing to make that commitment.
  • Newly hired Clippers consultant Jerry West didn’t attend Tuesday’s meeting with Paul, according to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1 (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets would have preferred to clear cap space by trading Ryan Anderson, but there wasn’t much of a market available, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. Two teams that were interested asked for two first-round picks in exchange for taking the three years and $60MM left on Anderson’s contract.
  • Trading for Paul before July 1st will allow the Rockets to enter free agency over the salary cap, Lowe adds, giving them access to a full midlevel exception worth more than $8MM and a biannual exception topping $3MM.
  • The Rockets will continue to pursue other stars, but probably can’t offer Trevor Ariza in any deal, according to Lowe. Paul remains close with his former teammate in New Orleans, and the chance to reunite played a decision in Paul’s decision to pick Houston. The Clippers, Lowe relays, had made several attempts to obtain Ariza.
  • Rockets GM Daryl Morey credits Harden for making today’s trade happen. In a video posted by Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston, Morey says the Rockets now have the two best playmakers in the league.