Jerry West Rumors
Kerr: Joe has told Bob and me as long as Bob and I are aligned he’s never going to overrule us. He’s hired us for a reason. He lets us do our jobs. And Joe is very involved in the process in a very effective way, just as Jerry West is. But there’s kind of an understanding that we’re building something special. He has hired us for a reason. We are the experts in our respective jobs–Bob in terms of building the roster, me in terms of coaching the guys. And Joe doesn’t want to interfere at all with that.
Though the list of NBA coaching vacancies grows by the day, plenty of former head coaches, current assistants and established college coaches are available. Divac, who sought advice from former Kings coach Rick Adelman during the Sleep Train finale, also plans to seek recommendations from mentors Gregg Popovich and Jerry West. “Definitely a long process,” Divac predicted. “It’s a very important decision for us. We have to take the time and talk to as many people we can.”
As West describes it, Buss regularly needed to be talked out of personnel moves that would have destroyed his team. “You don’t know some of the things that he wanted to do,” West said. He described one potential trade that Buss agreed to make: Worthy, the future Hall of Famer, to Dallas for Mark Aguirre and Roy Tarpley, who each had a reputation for being easily distracted. West found that idea so objectionable that he vowed to quit if Buss didn’t renege. “I went home to my wife and said, ‘I’m probably going to lose my job, but I can’t have this happen,’ ” he says. In the end, West says, he was able to persuade Buss.
The Lakers had one planned the next day with Dontae’ Jones, a bruising forward who had recently lifted Mississippi State to the Final Four. West knew of Bryant, but had not paid much attention to him. The Lakers possessed the draft’s 24th pick. West expected Bryant to be gone by then. He allowed Bryant to join the workout almost as an afterthought.
You brought in Jerry West during that time-frame, too. You have this series of front-office moves. Was all this planned? Lacob: The Jerry part was. From Day 1, Peter and I… and I give Peter a lot of credit on the Jerry thing. Just the concept. I think he once said to me, he might be a great consultant and adviser to us, but more than anything he’d be a great… and this is a great term… a great cover of darkness.