Jerry West with a prominent role in the new Golden State hierarchy will apparently remain an interesting what-could-have-been, but the legendary former personnel boss of the Lakers and Grizzlies confirms he is open to returning to the front-office world.
That could have been with the Warriors if Oracle boss Larry Ellison had bought the team. West has known Ellison for years and said the two talked several months ago about His Logo-ness as part of a possible management team in Oakland, West confirmed publicly for the first time. It appealed to West because of the relationship with Ellison and the proximity of an hour plane ride from West’s permanent home in Los Angeles, but became moot once Joe Lacob and Peter Guber beat Ellison to the Warriors.
“I haven’t spoken to him since, but he would have been a great owner and I’m sure the people up there knowing his ability to get things done, it would have been a great thing,” West said, adding he has not spoken with Lacob or Guber. “But, obviously this other group was very, very impressive in their own right, and I’m sure that they’ll do a great job up there. That is a franchise that does have a lot of possibilities.”
He said he has not had any contact with the Lacob-Guber team that only needs rubber-stamp approval from the Board of Governors to officially take control of the Warriors. But West is also very clear: he is interested in getting back in the game, even if in a reduced role, and would definitely listen if the phone rings.
“There’s things about the NBA I miss,” he said. “I do not miss the deceptive part of it. I don’t like the negativity part of it; in all sports, we see a lot of that today. That’s the only thing I don’t like. But all I seem to know in my life is being involved in basketball, a sport I know and love and a sport that has led me to somewhere in my life I never would have dreamed.
“If there were an opportunity that I considered attractive, and obviously working with the right people would be very, very important, I could have an interest. But it wouldn’t be on a day-to-day interest. I’ve always felt it would be nice to be a working consultant. I’m not talking about somebody that just sits around and does nothing. You’re either in or you’re out.”
It’s partly semantics. West said “I don’t want to be someone who comes in and has to deal with the day-to-day things,” yet he doesn’t want to be window dressing for an organizational flow chart either. West could, however, have a very prominent position, as prominent as, say, team president, and hire a trusted general manager to handle the daily-grind moments he wants to avoid.
“It certainly wouldn’t be about money,” West said. “It would be about my love of the game.”