The “Klaw”saga came to conclusion this morning, since Leonard reportedly agreed to join Clippers on a four year deal worth 142M$.
In addition, the LA Cilppers traded a record-breaking seven first round picks(4 unprotected,2 swaps and 1 conditional) with Shai-Ghileous Alexander and Danilo Galinari to acquire Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The competitive “balance” of the West changed again in a span of a few days and responsible for that, among others, is Jerry West.
The mastermind behind two dynasties
Jerry West did it again. The Los Angeles Clippers became a powerhouse in the West Conference, after signing Kawhi Leonard and acquiring Paul George on a “mega-trade” with Oklahoma City.
A great and capable recruiter, the “Logo” has a long history of successful “runs” as an executive always “creating” contenders wherever he was.
As the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s, he moderated a Lakers team that won 5 championships.
After a slump in the early 90s, Lakers became once again a competitive playoff team on a roster based on Vlade Divac, Cedric Ceballos and Nick Van Exel.
In 1995, the Lakers won 56 games in a season that created the right circumstances to become a powerhouse in the West the following years.
In 1996, West signed Shaquille O’Neal and acquired Kobe Bryant, after trading the fan-favourite Vlade Divac to the Charlotte Hornets
The two stars with Phil Jackson(also a Jerry West’s move) became the nucleus of a team that won 3 straight championships from 2000 to 2003. In 2002, West moved to Grizzles and once again he left his “competitive” mark on a NBA team.
The Memphis Grizzles became a “steady” playoff presence under the guidance of Jerry West. He build the team around Pau Gasol, James Posey and Mike Miller with Hubie Brown as the coach.
In 2004, the Grizzles made it to the playoff for the first team in their franchise history with Brown being the “Coach of the Year” and West winning the “Executive of the Year” award.
West resigned from Memphis in 2007 and retired, but he returned in the NBA as as an executive board member in an advisory role for the “Dubs”.
The former Lakers legend, moved to Oakland in 2011 and joined the Warriors after a 4-year hiatus creating a dynasty based in the draft(Curry,Thompson, Green), in the free agency (Kevin Durant) and the trade market( Iguodala, Bogut).
2014, him and Steve Kerr vetoed a trade that would send Klay Thompson
to Minesota for Kevin Love.
As a result, the next season, the Warriors won their first championship in 30 years and finally participated in five consecutive NBA finals.
In addition, he was instrumental in the Kevin Durant acquisition that brought two more title’s banners in the “Oracle Arena”.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, in 2016, West talked to Durant on the phone and told him that he would be the perfect fit for the Warriors at small forward and that West’s own 1-7 record in the NBA Finals with the Lakers still haunts him.
After a five year stint with Golden State, West moved on to Clippers in 2017 and made an incredibly fast retooling after the team of LA moved away from the “Lob City” era of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
The team made it to the NBA playoffs last season winning 48 games. Although, Clippers suffered an early first round exit, they claimed 2 wins against the 2017-2018 champion, Golden State Warriors, before losing the series in six games.
The foundation was once again there for Clippers with the great Jerry West building a really competitive squad and preparing the team to enter a star-studded free agent’s market with aspiration of signing one or two superstars.
Finally, after the acquisitions of Leonard and George, star-power will coexist with a great core consisting of Patrick Beverley, Lou Wiiliams, Montrez Harrel and others.
West did it again and formed a winner on the “other side” of Los Angeles.