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Jerry West: Reflecting on the Logo’s Impact For the Clippers

The late Jerry West was an important part of the Clippers franchise.

Sadly, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West passed away at 86.  West made a great impact as a player and maybe had even more as an executive.  While General Manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, West helped shape the Lakers dynasty of the 1980s.  In addition to this, West was responsible for trading for Kobe Bryant and signing Shaquille O’Neal.  After joining the Memphis Grizzlies for five years, West joined the Golden State Warriors as an executive in 2011. West helped shape the Golden State Warriors dynasty until he joined the Los Angeles Clippers in 2017. Although Jerry West’s official Clippers title was Consultant, it is clear that Jerry West had a large role in the moves made by the organization.

Jerry West: Reflecting on the Logo’s Impact For the Clippers

Moving On from Lob City

The first move impacted by Jerry West was Chris Paul‘s departure from Los Angeles.  The Clippers traded Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for seven players including Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, and Lou Williams, a 2018 first-round pick, and cash. Harrell and Williams both won Sixth Man of the Year for the Clippers and Beverley became a leader for the team, while the other four players did not impact the team on the court.

The second move made in Jerry West’s Clippers tenure was trading aging Sixth-Man Jamal Crawford, young center Diamond Stone, and a 2018 first-round draft pick in a three-team trade to the Atlanta Hawks, in which the Clippers received forward Danilo Gallinari from the Denver Nuggets.  As a result of this trade, the Clippers added another scoring wing that had experience but was nine years younger.

In January 2018, West traded five-time All-Star Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanović, and Avery Bradley, a 2018 first-round draft pick, and a 2019 second-round draft pick.  Griffin was the face of the Clippers for almost a decade, while the Clippers only received role players in return, however, the team added younger pieces and draft picks.  The Clippers finished with a 42-40 record, missing the playoffs.

Building the New Era of Clippers Basketball

In the 2018 NBA Draft, the Clippers traded the 12th overall pick, which they used to select Michigan State forward Miles Bridges, and a 2021 second-round draft pick to the Charlotte Hornets for Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Shai had an immediate impact on the Clippers, playing in all 82 games, starting 73 games, and helping the Clippers to a playoff appearance.

In February 2019, the Clippers traded Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanović, and Mike Scott to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Landry Shamet, and Mike Muscala.  Mike Muscala was probably the most important piece in this trade, as the Clippers traded him to the Lakers the next day for Ivica Zubac. Zubac has developed into a core piece for the Clippers, showing intensity and consistency.

In the 2019 NBA draft, the Clippers selected Terance Mann in the second round. Mann has been a great selection for the Clippers, showing versatility on both ends of the floor and stepping up in big moments.

Jerry West Adds Star Power

July 2019 was very eventful for Jerry West and the Los Angeles Clippers.  At the start of free agency, Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard was signed.  After this, the Clippers finalized their promise to Leonard by trading Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and seven first-round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George.  After a second-round playoff exit in which the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead with their new superstars, they fired head coach Doc Rivers after seven years in September 2020.  As a replacement, the Clippers hired assistant coach Tyronn Lue, who was the head coach of the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. In Lue’s first season at the helm, the Clippers reached the franchise’s first Western Conference Finals, losing in six games to the Phoenix Suns.

After three disappointing seasons, the Clippers felt the need to make a big move once again.  In November of 2023, the Clippers traded Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, and Marcus Morris, two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks, and cash to the Philadelphia 76ers for former MVP James Harden and P.J. Tucker.  The Clippers gave up a lot of depth in this deal, and it showed throughout the course of the season.

Jerry West is a champion. Moreover, Jerry West was one of the most influential minds in basketball. Although it is a shame that Jerry West did not bring a championship to the Clippers, they are now set up for success.


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