Report: Jerry West leaving Warriors to take on role as consultant with Clippers

7 Comments

There is a significant power shift coming to the Los Angeles Clippers, and they have stolen a Laker icon to make it happen.

Jerry West is leaving his role of six years as a consultant with the Golden State Warriors — part of the brain trust that built them into a juggernaut — to take on a similar role, although possibly with more power, with the Clippers.

Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated broke the news.

Jerry West is leaving the Golden State Warriors to take a similar job with the Los Angeles Clippers, SI.com has learned. West, who turned 79 as the NBA Finals began, made his decision over the last couple of weeks.

Known as the architect of two Laker championship teams as a general manager (Showtime in the decade of the 80s and the Kobe-Shaq threepeaters at the beginning of the century), West was not in a decision-making capacity with the Warriors. But he was a respected voice on personnel matters as Golden State turned from a laughingstock to a model franchise.

Other reports have also confirmed this move, including from the principles involved.

There was talk of West trying to return to the Lakers, but with the new Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka power structure, there was no fit. So he talked to the other L.A. team.

For the Warriors, this is a loss. When he arrived at the behest of a then new ownership group, he brought an air of credibility to what had been a long-woeful organization. He was a respected voice in a Golden State front office that encourages debate and different viewpoints. West was known to have been a big proponent of keeping Klay Thompson and not trading him for Kevin Love.

For the Clippers, this is a massive win — not only do they steal a Laker legend, but he again brings an instant air of respectability and credibility.

While West is a consultant and Doc Rivers is still the president and the guy with the hammer on trades, and the two will say they can work together, make no mistake this is the start of a power shift in the organization. Doc Rivers has made his moves, and the Clippers have been a top five-to-seven NBA team for a few years, but due to injuries and bad matchups they have never gotten out of the second round of the playoffs. Now with the Warriors poised to be dominant for years, with the Spurs still being the Spurs, and having been passed in the standings by teams such as Houston and Utah, the Clippers have some hard decisions to make this summer.

They want Chris Paul back, but does he want to return? And if he does, but decides to play the free agent game and talk to the Spurs and Heat and other suitors, can the Clippers wait for him? Do they re-sign Blake Griffin at the max? Can they get J.J. Redick back? The sense around the league is that Steve Ballmer may be rich, but he doesn’t want a massive luxury tax bill next year to run this same roster back. Do they let Griffin walk and try to swing a trade for Carmelo Anthony, and would that really make them better?

West is going to have a big say in all of this, and in other moves going forward. That may be bad news for Doc Rivers the GM, but it’s good news for the Clippers.

Grizzlies’ Josh Jackson to enter diversion program, have resisting arrest charges dropped

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the court, Josh Jackson‘s status had fallen so far that the No. 4 pick of just two years ago was traded to Memphis in a salary dump for Phoenix (so it could sign Ricky Rubio and re-sign Kelly Oubre).

Off the court, Jackson appears to have dealt with his arrest at a Miami music festival this summer by reaching a plea deal that will keep him out of the courtroom. TMZ broke the story.

Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s “pretty close” to resuming normal workouts

Getty Images
Leave a comment

METAIRIE, La. (AP) — Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram says he’s “pretty close” to resuming normal workouts as he continues to recover from surgery to address a blood clot in his right arm.

Ingram says he has not resumed shooting, but has worked on his shooting form while also conducting ball-handling and passing drills, as well as lower-body workouts.

Ingram did not give a specific timeline for his return to full basketball activities with the Pelicans, the team to which the Lakers traded him this offseason as part of a multi-player and multi-draft pick deal for six-time All-Star Anthony Davis.

Ingram spoke about his health on Tuesday during formal introductions at Pelicans headquarters for him and three other new players: guard Lonzo Ball, swing player Josh Hart, and center Derrick Favors.

Ball and Hart also were part of the Davis trade. Favors was traded by Utah to New Orleans.

Ingram was averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds last season before he was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis in early March.

Lawyer sentenced to 5 years for fraud, scamming Charles Barkley among others

Associated Press
Leave a comment

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A lawyer convicted of swindling NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to bolster an investment scam was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre also ordered Donald Watkins to pay about $14 million in restitution.

Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of 17+ years for Watkins and 6+ years for his son, Donald Watkins Jr. Both were convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges earlier this year. The two men stole more than $15 million from investors and a bank, prosecutors said.

Bowdre said she took the elder man’s age, 70, into consideration in imposing a lighter sentence, but the term was stiffer than the home confinement requested by Watkins. She then began a sentencing hearing for the son.

During the pair’s trial earlier this year, witnesses including Barkley testified about losing money in an investment scheme run by the elder Watkins.

Barkley, who grew up near Birmingham and now works as a television analyst, described himself as a friend of the elder Watkins, who has split time living in both Alabama and Atlanta.

Barkley lost more than $6 million in investments and loans, prosecutors said, and so did other professional athletes including former NFL players Takeo Spikes and Bryan Thomas and former NBA star Damon Stoudamire.

Stoudamire’s wife, Natasha Taylor-Stoudamire, spoke at the sentencing and said she couldn’t comprehend what Watkins had done.

“I can’t even comprehend how Donald Watkins Sr. and Jr. can take money from me or the rest the victims that were trying to have generational wealth for our children’s children,” she said, according to al.com .

Rice, a native of Birmingham, testified that Watkins wrongly used her name in promoting an energy business at the heart of the case. Prosecutors said Watkins included Rice’s name in an email to investors although she had declined to get involved.

Watkins once served as a city council member in Montgomery and helped successfully defend HealthSouth Corp. founder Richard Scrushy in a massive fraud that nearly bankrupted the company, now known as Encompass Health. He also has worked on civil rights cases.

More than 15 years ago, Watkins drew media attention when he attempted to purchase a major league baseball team. More recently he said he was attempting to purchase the NFL’s St. Louis Rams before the team moved to Los Angeles.

Although he portrayed himself as wealthy, prosecutors said Watkins had a net worth of only a few thousand dollars.

Writing in a blog post before the sentencing, Watkins Sr. said he would continue to appeal his conviction and claimed he was innocent.

“Jurors try to do the right thing, more often than not. However, my 46-years of active participation in the American judicial system has shown me (and the world) that well-meaning jurors often convict innocent defendants,” Watkins wrote.

Dion Waiters shows off slimmed down physique on Instagram

Getty Images
2 Comments

Suddenly the annual “he lost/gained 15 points and is in the best shape of his life” portion of the NBA summer is upon us.

The Miami Heat are known around the league for having one of the best conditioning programs, guys who go there almost universally get in better shape. Dion Waiters last season seemed to be the exception to the rule. Waiters wasn’t 50-year-old-suburban-dad-with-a-beer-gut out of shape, but coming off an injury where he didn’t get to train like he wanted, Waiters didn’t look like a guy in NBA shape either. Critics lit Waiters up on social media.

Waiters posted his response — he’s been hitting the gym.

View this post on Instagram

Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life. Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically , Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery. Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you’ve been through worst shit in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my ass off & get back to where I was before the injury. I’m not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind. #Philly🧀 #stayTune

A post shared by 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (@waiters3) on

Good for Waiters.

Let the flood of NBA workout videos and shots of guys with their new physiques begin.

Philly fans will be hoping to see one from Joel Embiid.