Scarcely two days since the Golden State Warriors won the second title in three years, Jerry West is leaving the team to become a special consultant to the Los Angeles Clippers.
West has held a similar role with the Warriors for the past six seasons. His decision to leave the team had been brewing over the last several months, due in part to a reportedly strained relationship with the ownership group, as first reported by Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated. When Golden State won the NBA championship on Monday night, West already knew he would be leaving and gave parting words to Draymond Green and Kevin Durant amidst the chaos of the team’s celebration. From SI:
“I’m telling you it was one of the saddest, if not the saddest night of my life,” West said on Wednesday night, speaking from his home in Bel-Air. “These were six of my happiest years. To be around a team like this, with these kind of guys … well, I’ve been around a long time, and I can tell you it’s a rare experience.”
The Clippers’ front office currently offers a far more difficult outlook than Golden State has over the last few seasons, but West, 79, seems to be up for the idea of a challenge:
The Clippers have no draft picks this year, and their two biggest stars—Blake Griffin and Chris Paul—both have the ability to opt out of their contracts this summer to become unrestricted free agents. That means West will play a role in either ensuring that they stick around, or figuring out how to build a foundation without them.
Before his time with the Warriors, West won six championships as general manager of the Lakers and then served five years as general manager of the Grizzlies.