CLIP­PERS TO CLUTCH FOR TOP WITH WEST

Iconic ex­ec­u­tive will leave cham­pion War­riors to con­sult with the Lak­ers’ ri­vals.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Brod­er­ick Turner

Jerry West, one of the NBA’s most dis­tin­guished ex­ec­u­tives who once presided over mak­ing the Lak­ers a pow­er­house, is fi­nal­iz­ing a deal to join the Clip­pers as a con­sul­tant, said sev­eral league of­fi­cials who were not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly on the mat­ter.

West, who spent the last six sea­sons as an ex­ec­u­tive board mem­ber with the NBA cham­pion Golden State War­riors, would serve in the same ad­vi­sory role with the Clip­pers, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials.

One of­fi­cial said West, 79, took the Clip­pers’ job be­cause he wants an­other chal­lenge af­ter help­ing the War­riors ac­quire Kevin Du­rant last sum­mer and then watch­ing Golden State de­feat the Cleve­land Cava­liers in the NBA Fi­nals on Mon­day night for their sec­ond ti­tle in three years.

Though his deal with Golden State runs through July, the War­riors gave the Clip­pers per­mis­sion to speak with West, one ex­ec­u­tive said.

An of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment is not ex­pected un­til next week, an­other ex­ec­u­tive said, pos­si­bly as early as Mon­day.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s at­trac­tive to him be­cause he lives in the Los An­ge­les area and started his ca­reer as a player in L.A. with the Lak­ers,” one ex­ec­u­tive said. “This is the place for him to go be­cause he’s look­ing for things to do still. He’s look­ing for an­other chal­lenge.”

Even af­ter West met with Clip­pers owner Steve Ballmer and Doc Rivers, the team’s coach and pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions, on May 30 at the team’s prac­tice fa­cil­ity in Playa Vista, the ex­ec­u­tives said West “twice

changed his mind” be­fore de­cid­ing Wed­nes­day that he wanted to join the Clip­pers.

Den­nis Wong, a friend of Ballmer from their days in col­lege at Har­vard who owns some­where be­tween one to four per­cent of the Clip­pers, was the first to reach out to West a few weeks ago about be­com­ing an ad­vi­sor for the team.

West is not look­ing to have “more power” than Rivers, but wants to work be­side him, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of bas­ket­ball oper­a­tions Lawrence Frank, gen­eral man­ager Dave Wohl and as­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Ger­ald Mad­kins, the ex­ec­u­tives said.

“Jerry is still driven,” one ex­ec­u­tive said. “He’s still sharp and he likes com­pe­ti­tion.”

There is a strong chance that West’s son, Ryan West, who is the Lak­ers’ di­rec­tor of player per­son­nel, will join the Clip­pers in some ca­pac­ity, one ex­ec­u­tive said.

The ex­ec­u­tives said the Clip­pers are hope­ful that hav­ing Jerry West around will help them keep Chris Paul and Blake Grif­fin, both of whom are ex­pected to opt out of their con­tracts and be­come un­re­stricted free agents on July 1.

Paul, who has un­til June 29 to let the Clip­pers know his de­ci­sion, can earn $205 mil­lion over five years with L.A., or $152 mil­lion over four years with an­other team.

The Clip­pers have re­cently be­come “ner­vous” about the re­ports that San An­to­nio will make a big push to get Paul and that the point guard has in­ter­est in talk­ing to and pos­si­bly join­ing the Spurs, said one ex­ec­u­tive who was not au­tho­rized to speak pub­licly on the mat­ter.

Paul also has plans to talk with the Hous­ton Rock­ets and Den­ver Nuggets, one ex­ec­u­tive said.

Grif­fin can sign a five-year deal worth $175 mil­lion with L.A., or sign a four-year deal worth $130 mil­lion with an­other team. The Bos­ton Celtics and Ok­la­homa City Thun­der are two teams that will make a bid for Grif­fin, ac­cord­ing to sev­eral ex­ec­u­tives.

“West knows he has a big task ahead of him with the Clip­pers,” one ex­ec­u­tive said. “But he feels as if Steve Ballmer is go­ing to be one of the great own­ers in this league.”

Stephen Dunn Getty Images

JERRY WEST, a Lak­ers icon in nearly ev­ery way, will join the Clip­pers as an ad­vi­sor af­ter work­ing for the Golden State War­riors for the last six sea­sons.

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