One of the most respected executives in the NBA is joining one of its most challenged franchises.
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The Golden State Warriors hired Jerry West on Friday to work with the front-office team in an advisory role and be a member of the executive board. West will assist the basketball operations staff and the business arm of the team, reporting directly to new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
”His accomplishments in this business as both a player and executive are almost beyond comprehension and certainly well-documented,” Lacob said. ”He’s simply a winner and, quite honestly, you can never have too many of those in your organization.”
The Hall of Famer was a 14-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers and the inspiration for the NBA’s logo. He also spent 18 seasons as the Lakers’ general manager and five years in Memphis’ front office, rebuilding both franchises from the foundation.
West will be part of a new staff charged with leading the Warriors back to the playoffs after making the postseason only once since 1994. Golden State is also searching for a new coach after Keith Smart’s contract was not renewed.
West’s responsibilities also will include sponsorship and marketing endeavors. He will still live in his Los Angeles-area residence but will travel to the Bay Area frequently.
”I’m really pleased that we were able to add someone the caliber of Jerry West to our organization,” Guber said. ”He has earned great respect in all circles, including the entire entertainment field, and his business savvy will serve us well and prove invaluable. Overall, his career has been nothing short of remarkable and his name alone has become synonymous with winning and success.”
The addition of West is the latest move in Golden State’s front-office shake-up.
The new owners, who bought the franchise for a record $450 million from longtime owner Chris Cohan early last season, hired agent Bob Myers in April to be the assistant general manager and GM in waiting. They kept general manager Larry Riley but decided not to retain Smart.
Golden State is looking for a new coach. Former Cleveland coach Mike Brown, Lakers assistant Brian Shaw, Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank and Dallas assistant Dwane Casey are among the top candidates.
West will be only an adviser on decisions and won’t play the role of general manager, where he has previously flourished. While he was at the helm in the front office, the Lakers won four titles and the Grizzlies made their only three playoff appearances until this season.
West was voted NBA executive of the year in 1995 and 2004. The Warriors were planning to formally introduce West at the team’s headquarters Tuesday.
West said in a statement that joining Golden State was appealing because it gives him the opportunity to remain a part of the game and contribute to an organization in a variety of roles.
”I’m excited about this opportunity and, quite frankly, humbled that the new ownership group with the Warriors inquired about my interest in joining the organization in this capacity,” West said. ”I’ve had the good fortune to work for two wonderful owners, Dr. Jerry Buss and Michael Heisley, as an executive and I know that you must have a commitment at the top to succeed.
”I sense that is certainly the case with the Warriors or I would not have made this decision.”