The Los Angeles Clippers made headlines around the NBA when they announced the hiring of Los Angeles Lakers legend Jerry West as a consultant. During his press conference, West stated his adventure with the Clippers would be his last, as he attempts to take the franchise over the bump that has doomed them these past few seasons.
During his press conference, West also bore no ill will toward the Lakers, stating that he believes Magic Johnson will succeed in his newfound role. While many fought hard towards the idea of West reuniting with the Lakers and his son, Ryan West, he stated that it simply wasn’t meant to be.
West will be an integral figure moving with the Clippers, as they head into a crucial offseason regarding the outlook of their franchise. However, the Clippers also have a bigger picture in mind regarding West. It seems as though the franchise hopes West can be the central figure in recruiting LeBron James to the Clippers, via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports:
The grand plan for West and his new Clippers colleagues, president of basketball operations and head coach Doc Rivers and executive vice president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank? Targeting the biggest fish in next summer’s free agent sea: LeBron James.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, West’s potential ability to improve the Clippers’ chances of landing the Cleveland Cavaliers star in free agency in the summer of 2018 was a significant factor in his hiring and in the willingness of owner Steve Ballmer to pay West between $4 and $5 million annually.
Although the Clippers face huge financial situations regarding Chris Paul and Blake Griffin’s impending free agency, owner Steve Balmer continues thinking in the grand scheme of things. The Clippers have failed to make it past the second round during their recent stretch of playoff appearances.
Balmer certainly hasn’t been shy in stating he is willing to spend quite the amount to secure his current slot of All-Stars, meaning they would certainly go over for the best player in the NBA. James consulted West during his original decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers in favor of the Miami Heat, as a trustworthy person he could counsel with.
The Cavaliers certainly didn’t strengthen their chances of re-signing James with the announcement regarding David Griffin’s departure. James has one season remaining on his current deal with the Cavaliers, set to join a potential star-studded 2018 free agency class.