The battle for Los Angeles is real, even if it has been completely one-sided for the last several years. But, now, finally, we have a potential war brewing between the Lakers and Clippers.
Especially now that the Clippers have brought in Jerry West. West obviously isn’t your average consultant. The Logo isn’t just popping into the office for a coffee and a chat — or to play a friendly 18 and talk business and life. He’s got plans. And he’s got the paycheck to match — USA Today’s Sam Amick reporting that Clippers owner Steve Balmer is paying West in the neighborhood of FIVE MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
So this isn’t some 79-year-old giving the Clips some chicken soup for the soul, or reliving the glory days. This is Jerry Freaking West, the LOGO, back in his old stomping grounds and ready to go toe-to-toe with the guy he built the Showtime Lakers around. And if the speculation that he wanted to return to the Lakers is true, then that boulder on the dude’s shoulder just got bigger.
So with all the balls in the air for the Clippers — Chris Paul potentially walking, Blake Griffin with the same option, the Clips floating DJ in trade talks with Phoenix – now they have a guy to help them navigate their way through all that. But even more importantly, now they have a guy to help convince LeBron to come to the Clippers. Because if anyone can do that, even at 79, it’s West, the guy who convinced Shaq O’Neal to come to LA and the guy LeBron himself, calls the Godfather.
Because no 79-year-old is tearing a team down to the studs. Not when you’re about to start your 8th decade. And when a guy who has accomplished literally everything the game has to offer — a guy who is literally the logo of the Association is calling — you pick up the phone. And when that guy is dialing up free agents this year and next year, when he’s laying the blue prints, you listen.
The Logo was one of the last voices in KD’s ear before he made the decision to sign with Golden State. And if there’s EVER a guy who can sit down with LeBron and tell him about forging a new path, if there’s ever a guy who can sell the virtues of picking the Clippers in a Lakers town, it’s the guy who hung all those purple and gold banners in the rafters but is now working for the other guy. Who better to recruit against the Lakers than Jerry West? Can you think of anybody?
So if you spent a couple BILLION DOLLARS to buy what amounts to the basketball stepchild of Los Angeles, if you’ve got all the money in the world, what’s 5 million more for the chance to bring in a legend? What’s 5 million more to get you an audience with the King –I’m not guaranteeing West can deliver LeBron, but just getting a legitimate seat at the table with him for $5 mill is a cheap price to pay. Especially since Balmer probably walking around with that much on him right now.
I’m sure West thought he would end his career with the Warriors. And if not the Warriors, then the Lakers. And it probably stings that he won’t but the fact that that five mill will ding his checking account and he has a chance to stick to his beloved team that wanted nothing to do with him, will roll this guy out of the rack every morning in what he calls the last act of his career.
The Clippers need someone to help them figure this all out because what they’ve been doing clearly isn’t working. And they couldn’t have done any better than the Logo. It’s a good move. Not dumping Timofey Mozgov’s salary good, but maybe the next best thing to that.