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Jerry West Will Leave Warriors for Job with Clippers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12:  NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors poses for a photo with NBA legend Jerry West after winning the NBA Championship in Game Five of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 12, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Jerry West, who spent the last six years as a special consultant with the Golden State Warriors, is leaving the reigning NBA champions to take a similar job with the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Sports Illustrated's Jack McCallum.

The Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner confirmed the news.

ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne shed light on West's departure from the Warriors:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

West told ESPN that he has not yet signed a contract with the Clippers, but knew Monday night would be his final game with the Warriors.

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

West called leaving the Warriors "one of the saddest nights of my life" because of the respect he has for the organization and the players.

When asked about the Clippers job, West told Shelburne "I'm very intrigued. This owner, [Steve Ballmer] is a winner and he wants to win."

In May, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported West was considering leaving the Bay Area for Southern California since his contract with Golden State was set to expire at season's end.

However, Warriors owner Joe Lacob was adamant the team wanted West to return after he helped advise the front office during its transformation into a title contender.

"We want him back," Lacob told the Mercury News' Tim Kawakami. "We love him. He’s been a great contributor to the organization, someone I consider a personal friend as well. We would love him back (beyond this season), and we’ve made that known."

Shortly after the news of West's departure broke, Lacob expressed a similar sentiment in a statement relayed by USA Today's Sam Amick:

Sam Amick @sam_amick

Statement from Warriors owner Joe Lacob on the departure of Jerry West, who has been in deep talks with the Clippers https://t.co/aN9muYGy28

West, 79, will now head to the Clippers—who are facing a slew of big decisions this summer with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick all slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The Logo could also be an asset to the Clippers when it comes to recruiting free agents. Last July, West reportedly made what turned out to be a successful pitch to Kevin Durant about joining the Warriors.

Next summer, West could be tasked with giving LeBron James a call as the Clippers eye a viable path toward title contention.

On Wednesday's episode of The Vertical Podcast with Woj (h/t NBC Sports' Dan Feldman), The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski fueled speculation that LeBron could bolt for Hollywood in 2018. 

"Not only is there no guarantee he’s coming back, I'm not sure there’s an expectation he's re-signing there," Wojnarowski said. "I think they feel, I think within Cleveland and around the league, they feel that he’s very much in play to leave again and likely head out West to one of the two L.A. teams."

Whether the Clippers can make a legitimate play for James or not, West will have to collaborate with owner Steve Ballmer and head coach/president of basketball operations Doc Rivers to devise a plan that allows the franchise to take a step forward following bouts of postseason stagnancy.

Despite winning 50 games in each of the past five seasons, the Clippers have yet to make an appearance in the Western Conference Finals and have bowed out of the playoffs in the first round two years running.

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