Very few people have been as instrumental to the success of the Los Angeles Lakers throughout the franchise’s history as Jerry West. After bringing a championship to Los Angeles as a player, West transitioned to the front office, working as a scout before becoming the Lakers general manager.
Not only did he help to build the ‘Showtime’ Lakers, but he also signed Shaquille O’Neal and drafted Kobe Bryant, helping to set up another three-peat from 2000-2002.
With the new Lakers front office taking shape under the guise of president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, there were some rumblings about bringing West in as a consultant. According to Mark Heisler, West is interested in a return, but the Lakers aren’t interested in bringing him in:
“These days the Lakers don’t even do no-brainers, like inviting Jerry West back in a consultant’s role like the one he has with the Warriors. A Lakers insider told me it’s not happening … even though the Lakers are aware West would love to be asked back.
The reason cited isn’t much different than what Jim Buss felt: They don’t think they need West.”
It is somewhat surprising that the Lakers wouldn’t be interested in hiring West considering his track record and pedigree. In addition to his work with the Lakers, West helped build the Memphis Grizzlies into a perennial contender, and now as a consultant for the Golden State Warriors, his voice still holds plenty of weight. Kevin Durant even credited West with helping to convince him to sign last summer.
The fact that West is reportedly interested in a return would seem to make this an easy decision, but the Lakers clearly believe they have everything under control with Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka. This offseason will be the first big test as to what they are capable of.