A few events in the past 48 hours have me thinking. Mike D’Antoni’s resignation coming on the heels of some other news involving a former Lakers coach is enough to make me believe that now might be the best time for the Lakers to bring Jerry West back into the fold. The slate has never been more clean and who better to act as the team’s consigliere than Mr. Clutch himself?
On Tuesday, Zach Lowe of Grantland reported that Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson asked that Jerry West not attend practices or team activities. West was hired as a high-level adviser by the franchise’s owners not long after they purchased the team in 2011.
Even though Jackson has denied the report, saying it was both a ‘lie’ and disrespectful’, Jackson’s firing of an assistant coach and the reassignment of another in the last few weeks before the playoffs are enough evidence to at least leave open the possibility that Lowe’s report is true and that Jackson might be lying.
Regardless of whether or not the story is true, it would only be another in what seems to be a growing list of recent events that seem to suggest to me that it might be worth it for the Lakers to explore a reunion of sorts with their former player/coach/general manager/executive VP of basketball operations.
It has been nearly 14 years since the last time West was a Lakers employee. He left the team just a couple of months after they won the first of three consecutive championships in 2000. Even though West admitted that the pursuit of Shaquille O’Neal in 1996 had nearly killed him, he never seemed to be a fan of drama or nonsense. That might explain why West wasn’t around for any of the bad blood or ill-will that transpired between Shaq and Kobe Bryant during their last few seasons as teammates. When hypothesizing about what the two of them might have accomplished had they tried harder to make it work, it was only natural to wonder if West’s presence would have been enough to resolve whatever conflicts they had.
If you think about the issues that might have resulted in West’s departure from the team, as well as the events currently surrounding both the Lakers and the Warriors, you’d have to think that the Lakers might be in a perfect position for West to return to a role similar to the one he currently holds with Golden State. The difference being that West, who still lives in Los Angeles, would have a much shorter commute.
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