Hall of Famer and longtime NBA executive Jerry West has agreed to return to the Clippers next season to continue in his advisory role with the team’s front office, The Times has learned.
West, who will turn 81 later this month, has agreed to continue his work as a consultant that he began in June 2017, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
His decision to stay with the team is the latest off-court victory for owner Steve Ballmer and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank, who have now retained three key front-office executives in the last month.
General manager Michael Winger was courted by Minnesota to become its president of basketball operations in April but ultimately declined to interview. A little more than a week later, assistant general manager Trent Redden opted to stay despite having an opportunity to join New Orleans as its general manager. The roles would have been promotions for both men.
‘We are building something truly special in L.A., and I want to be part of the group that rewards our loyal and passionate fans,” Winger said in April about his decision to stay.
West is part of a team of Clippers executives and scouts in Chicago for the league’s annual NBA draft combine.
Since joining the NBA as the second overall pick by the Lakers in 1960, West has become a marquee figure in NBA history as a player and, for the last 37 years, an executive with the Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Clippers.
Like West, Winger and Redden joined the Clippers’ front office two seasons ago as the team was expanding a formerly bare-boned front office under Ballmer and Frank. Beginning with the trade of franchise cornerstone Blake Griffin in 2018, the Clippers have begun an on-the-fly rebuild that has seen them dramatically reshape their roster while remaining competitive.
The trades of Griffin and Tobias Harris have returned draft picks and younger players who now comprise the team’s core, as well as providing salary cap room that could be used during free agency this summer to land a top star.
The Clippers are expected to pursue free agents such as Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and Golden State’s Kevin Durant, though coach Doc Rivers has said they will keep their financial flexibility for 2020 if they are unable to sign players this summer who fit their needs.