The Los Angeles Lakers, who suffered a franchise-worst 62nd defeat on Wednesday, need Jerry West to return the front office and save the sinking ship, according to popular ESPN analyst Stephen A Smith.
West, 77, left his executive role with the Lakers in 2002 for a job with the Memphis Grizzlies. After spending five seasons in Memphis, he joined Golden State Warriors in 2011 as an executive board member, reporting directly to new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Though West isn’t involved in day-to-day operations with the Warriors, he still weighs in on decisions involving personnel.
“I want Jerry West to leave the Golden State Warriors. I would love for him to go back to Los Angeles and take over the Lakers. That’s the only way to save Mitch Kupchak (general manager) as well. Kupchak and Jim Buss will fall if not for West and I don’t think that’s right. Kupchak deserves better. Buss has got in Kupchak’s way. I’d love to see Kupchak’s mentor, West, return so they both can lead Lakers for many years to come,” Smith said on Thursday’s edition of First Take.
Lakers get Shaq, Kobe, Gasol…
West was instrumental in Los Angeles recruiting Shaquille O’Neal and trading Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant in the summer of 1996.
Also, while working with the Grizzlies, West orchestrated the trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers in 2007. Those three moves essentially secured the Lakers’ last 5 championships. If not for West’s brilliance as an executive, the Lakers might not have enjoyed all the success in the aftermath of the Showtime Era.
Ryan West, son of Jerry, has been serving as the director of player personnel for the L.A. since August 2015. Ryan has been credited for the team drafting late second-round pick Jordan Clarkson and exciting young talent Larry Nance Jr. Many around the league reckon that Ryan is following in his father’s footsteps and could succeed Kupchak as the next GM of the Purple & Gold.
Will the Lakers front office be shaken up this offseason?