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

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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.

Heat fine Dion Waiters for postgame expletive-laden comments

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BIRMINGHAM, Michigan (AP) The Miami Heat have fined Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount for his expletive-laden comments about playing time earlier this week.

Waiters made the comments to reporters from two South Florida newspapers after Miami’s lopsided loss in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The Heat were off Wednesday and announced the fine Thursday.

“We fined him and we addressed it as a team,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Waiters has played in five games this season, all as a reserve. He missed just over a full year while recovering from surgery to repair a long-problematic ankle, and has repeatedly said that being patient throughout the process is a challenge for him.

“Look, this is going to be very difficult for Dion,” Spoelstra said. “I have empathy for everything he’s gone through in the last year to get back to where he is right now. But this is not about him. This is only about the team and it’s about winning.”

Miami is 21-21 this season, going into its game Friday at Detroit.

Waiters appeared in 76 games in his first two seasons with the Heat, starting 73 of those. He’s averaged 16.1 points for Miami as a starter, 7.0 points for the Heat as a reserve. And he’s trying to get minutes now with Miami having a slew of wings already in the rotation, including Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Tyler Johnson.

Even Wayne Ellington, who set a Heat franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season a year ago, has fallen out of the rotation this year in large part because of Miami’s depth at the wing.

Spoelstra said no one is going to volunteer their minutes for Waiters.

“We value him. We need him,” Spoelstra said. “It won’t be on his terms. It’ll be on the team’s terms.”

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Adam Silver backs Knicks center Enes Kanter’s decision to skip London trip

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LONDON (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says the safety and security of players will always be paramount for the league after New York Knicks center Enes Kanter did not travel to London for his team’s game against the Washington Wizards.

Kanter said he feared he could be attacked or killed over his opposition to Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he were to travel to London. Istanbul-based newspaper Daily Sabah reported that an arrest warrant was issued for Kanter by Turkish prosecutors on Wednesday.

Silver, speaking ahead of Thursday’s game, says “it was never a suggestion from the league that (Kanter) was not welcome on this trip.”

“There are significant issues that he is dealing with, and I recognize that for the NBA, by virtue of the fact that we’re a global business, we have to pay a lot of attention to those issues as well,” Silver says.

Kanter, who has frequently criticized Erdogan, had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017.

Wizards beat Knicks with game-winning goaltending call in London Game

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The good people of England could use a break from the dumpster fire that is Brexit, so the NBA came to town to entertain with their very best… their biggest stars… the teams that were willing to go, the Knicks and the Wizards.

But the Londoners got to see one unusual ending.

The Knicks were up 100-99 thanks to a Noah Vonleh hook shot, but the Wizards had three seconds to try to get off a game winner. Scott Brooks designed an interesting play, with Bradley Beal starting in the backcourt and sprinting into the frontcourt, and when the defense moved to him as the likely shooter he passed to Thomas Bryant rolling down the lane, he put up the finger roll and…

That was a goaltend by Allonzo Trier to my eyes — the ball is just starting its downward trajectory, and it may have been over the cylinder (in an NBA arena there would have been an above-basket camera with a better angle on if it was over the rim, but that did not seem to be available in London).

The Wizards — who owner Ted Leonsis said will never tank, so forget about them trading away assets at the deadline — have won 3-of-4 and are 6-4 since John Wall was sidelined with his foot injury, with a +3 net rating in those games. Washington is now just two games out of the playoffs in the East and GM Ernie Grunfeld does not believe in tanking, so expect them to make a push.

Which is why wins like this matter.

PBT Extra: DeMarcus Cousins’ return will be big boost for Warriors. Maybe.

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The Golden State Warriors — the two-time defending NBA champs, the team on top of the Western Conference with the best offense in the NBA — are about to get a whole lot better.

Maybe.

Nobody really knows.

What we know is DeMarcus Cousins is scheduled to make his return to the court on Friday night against the Clippers in Los Angeles. Cousins missed the end of last season and all of this season recovering from a ruptured Achilles.

I get into all of it in this PBT Extra.

As NBC’s Tom Haberstroh pointed out, the history of big men bouncing back from this injury does not bode well for Cousins. On the other side, Cousins was so skilled, if the Warriors can get 75 percent of the old Cousins it will be an upgrade over Kevon Looney and give Golden State a guy who can exploit mismatches.

On paper, the Warriors should get better with Cousins in the lineup. But nobody really knows.