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Now Might Be The Perfect Time For The Lakers To Bring Jerry West Home Reviewed by Momizat on . I'm not asking West to come back and run the team on a day-to-day basis or replace either Kupchak or Jim. He turns 76 at the end of May and probably doesn't wan I'm not asking West to come back and run the team on a day-to-day basis or replace either Kupchak or Jim. He turns 76 at the end of May and probably doesn't wan Rating: 0
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Now Might Be The Perfect Time For The Lakers To Bring Jerry West Home

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I’m not asking West to come back and run the team on a day-to-day basis or replace either Kupchak or Jim. He turns 76 at the end of May and probably doesn’t want to. I want him to continue golfing at Riviera whenever he wants to. I want him to be involved as much as he desires.  At the bare minimum, show up to one weekly staff meeting and answer the phone when Jim, Jeanie, or Mitch need the opinion of someone who has probably seen it all.

Even though the Lakers current basketball problems are aplenty, it would be fair to say that the franchise is currently drama-free, at least when compared to most recent seasons. Jim and Jeanie have done a nice job over the past month of letting the fans know that they are on the same page with regards to their working relationship and the distribution of responsibilities.

It’s no secret that one of the reasons that West left the Lakers in 2000 was because he was uneasy with the relationship between Phil and Jeanie. The theory is that West didn’t think he could ever convince Dr. Buss to side with him if there was ever an issue between he and Jackson. West and Phil never had a social relationship. Not only did Phil make a habit of ignoring him, he also kicked West and Kupchak out of the locker room after a playoff game.  According to West’s autobiography West By West, one of the reasons he left the team was he began to feel “under-appreciated and undervalued.” With Jackson having just signed a four-year deal to become president of the New York Knicks, West wouldn’t have to constantly feel the presence of Phil or his shadow.

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buss_memorial05The Lakers explanation as to why they didn’t hire Phil to work in their front office was that they didn’t have a place for him. That’s true. Phil wanted to build his own roster and the Lakers already have someone who does that. West isn’t looking for that at this point. He hasn’t been the person responsible for building Golden State’s roster, but considering the Lakers historical emphasis on both the center position and on team defense, I don’t doubt for a second that he had input in the decisions to trade Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut and to use two future first-round picks to help free up the cap space to sign Andre Igoudala last last year.

While I can’t speak or even theorize on how receptive Jim Buss would be to a West homecoming, Mark Heisler has written that Jim was supposed to apprentice under West in the late 90s, but he didn’t take the job seriously at the time.  You can’t say the same about Jim now. He’s now one of the team’s owners.

As for Kupchak, he and West are still very close. According to a recent story by Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, “When Jerry West left the Lakers in 2000, Kupchak described him as “my mentor, my guiding light, my best friend.” In addition to that, Jerry’s son Ryan, 34, has been scouting for the Lakers since 2001, and shares an office with Jesse Buss.
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Lakers Nation Best Of: Top 5 Jerry West Lakers Moments


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About The Author

Andrew Ungvari is a Los Angeles native and a Lakers season ticket holder since 1989. Follow him on twitter @DrewUnga.

Number of Entries : 46
  • independentbynature

    I would love to see the return of Jerry West to the Lakers.He is a basketball genius and a class act.He was one of my sports heroes when I was a kid.I just can’t see him as anything but a Laker for life.

  • Jim213

    One thousand percent in agreement as hear there may be some issues with West and M Jackson in Golden State. But I’d have no doubt that the best GM in NBA history would help to turn things around even if he had a minimal role as an adviser as he prefers today.

    Jerry West’s son is currently with the Lakers (scout) and if Magic ended up becoming part owner of the Clippers I’d wish him the best but that wouldn’t change things with Jerry West on board as the future would look promising.

    However, given Jim’s belief that he knows more than the so called experts and with Jim dissing West in the past this may likely end up being a dream for the FO who believe they’re doing a great job as last season’s record and lack of talent shows.
    smh

    However, still disagree with YOUR LAST ARTICLE tho it’s two different perspectives!

  • JohnSmith00

    That’s a nice thought and all but the problem about where to put him still hasn’t changed. With Jeanie as president, Jim as VP of basketball operations and Mitch as GM, there are only two scenarios that I can think of where he can be brought in. Either Jeanie or Jim would have to step down the latter of which is as likely as hell freezing over, but if one did step down he could be brought in as president or VP.

    Seeing as Jim already has a strangle hold of the team I think the best scenario would be to have Jeanie step down. Let Jim take over as president and hire Jerry as executive VP, this way Jim would have his ego stroked while at the same time taking on a lesser role without even realizing he’s taking on a lesser role. It would then allow Jerry and Mitch to become a one two punch when it comes to basketball operations.

  • Daryl Peek

    Would be nice to have the Logo come back as a consultant and work with is son Ryan and Jesse Buss in scouting. This is the only position feasible as the official FO structure is set for now.

    • Jim213

      Another scenario, J West with the Clippers (consultant) if Magic becomes part owner of the team? We may be taking a back seat for awhile if that occurred but not sure West would go with it.

      • Daryl Peek

        Can’t see West with the Clippers even if Magic’s group buys the team. BTW, the league is in for one helluva battle in trying to ouster Sterling.

        • Jim213

          Funny that no one could get a comment from him except Fox News Channel. Heard he intends in suing the NBA (which they are) if the owners kick him out as owner.

        • ra

          Sterling is poison for the NBA. If he doesn’t leave (and he ‘will’ get plenty of money if he does), he’ll be making a bad impact on the NBA. He has already damaged the NBA image (the one Stern tried to build).

          • Jim213

            Sterling came close but given Silver’s ruling he’s earned the respect of the players and fans IMO. Although, it still remains to be seen being how long the process takes as Lebron is pushing for a quick resolve.

            IMO, if the Heat end up going to the Finals and the issue gets delayed somehow by the NBA would Lebron boycott or refuse to play the Finals along with teammates and their opponents? That would hurt the league but possible IMO.

          • Daryl Peek

            Sterling is and has been a problem but it is Stern and all in the league who helped enable the monster. Kareem and Boomani Jones put it best when speaking on the current hypocrisy of the Sterling fire storm. No ones defending Sterling’s ISH but as Cuban, KAJ and Boomani said, it’s a slippery slope using those words spoken in the privacy of his home as the reason to ban Sterling and force him to sell the team. As bad as Sterling’s views are, that is a hard sell in a court of law as reason for ouster.

    • ra

      co-GM?

      • Daryl Peek

        Can’t see co-GM either. Been there done that and West is done with the heavy lifting at this point of his career. A person like Mitch is not going backwards given the position the Buss family has vested into him. Consultant is all I can see for West.

        • Chrmngblly

          Consultant is fine, as long as they change the process for selecting coaches, Please let the Lakers learn, for a change.

  • corky carroll

    YES YES YES AND MORE YES. Jerry is EXACTLY the addition to the mix that we need. I would love to see this happen, and sooner than later. Make is so FO

  • TheTruthKills

    I would love to see the logo come home, but Jim Buss isn’t going to relinquish control of basketball decisions. The Dream scenario would be the logo as President of Basketball Operations, Mitch as GM, and Jim learning to be the man behind the man. But realistically he’ll be an outside consultant if he does return.

  • Jordonh4

    Love for it to happen but it will not. Lakers didn’t bring on Phil, and if there is no room for the owners fiance then what room will they have for West? Sucks, but I can’t see it happening.

  • CharlieMurphy!

    What’s wrong with Mitch Kupchak? He got us great players throughout the years. Players who complimented the team’s coaching system. He wasn’t the one hiring the coaches, Jim Buss was

    • TheTruthKills

      It’s not about Mitch. It’s about adding a basketball mind to the fold.

      • CharlieMurphy!

        I don’t understand what you mean about basketball mind but I remember being a Laker fan for so long, Jerry West – with his brilliance in drafting great players such as Divac, Van Exel, Jones, Peeler etc. It took Jerry about a decade just to get back to the NBA finals. That is, after giving an ultimatum to the Buss family that it’s either him or Phil Jackson, that is why Jerry resigned as GM.

        Mitch Kupchak is actually a carbon copy of Jerry West. Even Jerry admitted that he taught Kupchak everything he knows working as his intern after his playing days with the 80′s Lakers, to being his assistant GM afterwards to eventually taking over his position. Bill Bertka – from the days of Jerry West’s assistant, scout, is still employed to this day.

        Although I love Jerry West and his accomplishments. I just don’t see him fit on this organization other than replacing Kupchak as GM. He’s too good and too proud to be just a adviser to the ball club especially when he trained and entrusts Kupchak and see him as his carbon copy already. And I’m sure they still keep in touch so as Magic.

  • Lakers4Life

    Would be good to have Jerry in order to appeal to all the upcoming FAs to join our Lakers. LeBron for the win folks!

  • Ron Harper

    This article makes no sense. Everyone wants someone in the FO to somehow step down in their position. Would any of you step down out of a high position from your jobs or career voluntarily? I DONT THINK SO!
    1st, Jeanie or Jim would never step down out of their positions. Their own father would turn in his grave if they gave up what they were given by Dr. Buss.
    2nd, Mitch would leave the organization if Jerry West ever came back.
    3rd, Why would his son want me to come to the FO. He probably would feel like his dad would tell him what to do all the time or criticize his scouting reports.
    4th, In GSW, why would West wanna come back and take a wack ass just advising role when he’s already playing the big dog in GSW.

    • Dorian Holden

      Jerry is just a consultant in GS. He is far from the big dog up there.

    • AndrewUngvari

      It’s odd that you think the article makes no sense, considering that it’s pretty obvious you didn’t read the whole thing. It’s three pages, although it’s kind of hidden under the video how to get to the next page.

      I’m not asking anyone to step down from their position or to give up any of their current responsibilities. I’m calling for West to serve as a high-ranking adviser, a Godfather of sorts. Not even as a full-time gig. He wouldn’t have the final say in matters. He’d just be someone to help with their brain trust and ask the right questions.

      He’s not the big dog in Golden State. Not sure where you got that info from either. The role I’m asking him to take in LA is the same “wack ass” advising role” he currently has with the Warriors. Did you know he still lives in Bel-Air? Did you know that Bob Myers was the GM of the Warriors. What big dog job are you referring to?

  • Mark Rigney

    This would be the best move Buss could ever make. Come home Mr. West!

  • Levels

    Andrew Ungyari, while I agree with it would be great to have Jerry back, however how could the Laker Brass even justify bringing him back in any way considering they could not find anything or any role for Phil Jackson. I think that it would be a P.R nightmare that the Lakers can ill afford to have at their present state.

    • AndrewUngvari

      Phil wanted to construct is own roster like Pat Riley has in Miami. West is way past that point in his career. This would be as an adviser. Phil wanted much more than to just be an adviser. Did you read the whole article? There are three pages, it’s not very easy to find the other page numbers.

  • Justin Credible

    Jerry West hasn’t done anything for the Lakers in so long it’s time to pay his dues again like the IRS.

  • Robert L. I.

    Jerry will not return. He left because he didn’t like how Jim Buss was running the team. Yes Jim was being groomed way back then, and Jim shared his belief with Jerry “That anyone can run basketball operations”. He even hired his buddy the bartender. Jerry won’t be coming back.

    How asinine you would suggest it, Mitch has that job at the moment.

    • Chrmngblly

      Let West participate in the coaching search. Consult on a project by project basis, They need to shake up the decision making process.

    • AndrewUngvari

      I don’t know where you got that ridiculous notion that West left because of how Jim Buss was running the team. West left after the 2000 season. Jim was still more than 10 years away from running the team. West left because of Phil and because he felt that he was being ignored. At least read all three pages of the article before you comment. That’s all I ask.

  • Benito Valeriano Cabantan Cena

    Why not Jerry “Mr Clutch” West himself doing his stuff?not only as holding a guard position during his days but more on the strategy behind their wins! I love to see Jerry West doing coaching job

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