Jerry West has returned to Los Angeles, but this time with the Clippers. He left the Golden State Warriors, who are coming off their second NBA title in three years, with West serving as a special advisor for both of those titles.
But according to a USA Today report by Sam Amick, the Clippers had a master plan by bringing West aboard: get LeBron James.
“According to two people with knowledge of the situation, West’s potential ability to improve the Clippers’ chances of landing the Cleveland Cavaliers star in free agency in the summer of 2018 was a significant factor in his hiring and in the willingness of owner Steve Ballmer to pay West between $4 and $5 million annually. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the team’s plans,” Amick wrote.
James is set to hit free agency at the conclusion of the 2018 season, having already returned home to Cleveland and delivered the NBA Championship to the city he craved.
The landscape of the league has changed since James went to Miami ahead of the 2010-11 season, alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The Golden State Warriors have since won two of the past three titles, adding Kevin Durant to an All-Star roster ahead of the 2016-17 season, defeating an exacerbated James in the NBA Finals this past year.