Jerry West Rumors
Said West: “Leaving the Warriors was probably the most difficult thing for me in my whole life. I didn’t want to leave. You get to the point where maybe you don’t feel as valued, but it’s just something that happened. I hold no malice toward anyone over there. “It did not end the way I wanted it to, that’s for sure. But this is a perfect role for me. People ask me my opinion, and I’m going to give it to them.”
Ballmer and West eventually came to terms on a two-year deal. “If he still wants to do it, we can go beyond that,” Ballmer said. “Now that I know him better, I can’t see him retiring.” Neither can West. “I’m not a person that does very well when I don’t have a reason to get up in the morning,” he said.
Do the Clippers hold on to those picks and wait for July 2019 to make their next big free-agent push? Do they try to package one or both in a potential trade this off-season to pursue an established star like San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard? Frank and Ballmer will ultimately make those calls, but West expects to have significant say. “I don’t just want to be a figurehead,” West said. “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.”
The idea to pursue West came from Ballmer’s former Harvard classmate-turned-Clippers minority shareholder Dennis Wong, who was once part of Golden State’s ownership group. “He kept saying, ‘We need a guy like Jerry West,’ ” Ballmer said. “I kept saying, ‘Show me one guy in the world who’s like Jerry West.’ Then last season Dennis said: ‘Did you know he’s near the end of his contract? Jerry West is like Jerry West.’”
Money was only one factor in West’s exit. No matter how hard Warriors officials tried to convince him, publicly and privately, that his input remained vital to their collaborative approach to decision-making, West felt his influence was fading. “You have to be wanted,” West said.