Hall of Famer Jerry West joins LA Clippers as consultant

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PLAYA VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Hall of Famer Jerry West, fresh off helping the Golden State Warriors win another NBA championship, is now officially a consultant with the Los Angeles Clippers.

West was formally introduced at a news conference Monday with Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach and president of basketball operations, and Executive Vice President Lawrence Frank. He had been an executive board member with the Warriors and is expected to have a similar role with LA.

The former Lakers great and front office executive credited Rivers, Frank and owner Steve Ballmer with convincing him the other team in LA was the right fit.

“Here I am on the last adventure of my life, and I like to call it an adventure,” West said. “I believe in ownership a lot. After I talked to Steve and Doc and what’s-your-name, Frank Lawrence, I was even more convinced. I’ve known these guys and respected them.

“I like people flying under the radar. I don’t like gigantic egos. … I’ve had the privilege of watching their games. I watch every game no matter who is playing. For them to want me to come here and maybe think I can help, I’m really flattered.”

The 79-year-old West is coming in just ahead of the draft and the free agency period, when the Clippers will be focused on retaining key players, including Chris Paul.

West didn’t specifically address what he would advise the team to do with Paul and Blake Griffin.

“I haven’t talked much about that,” West said. “I think they know what they need to do. I’m going to spend the rest of this week and next week trying to find where they’re going to go. I think very definitely, they want to try to protect their assets.”

Rivers had floated the idea of West joining the organization before, so it wasn’t as jarring to West as it might have been for Lakers fans.

“I wanted to bring him in, more than this year without going much further than that,” Rivers said. “Without going much further than that, I kept bringing it up. Steve got involved and (part owner) Dennis (Wong). I left somewhere that was safe, too.”

So instead of taking a vacation to celebrate another NBA championship, West will get to work with the Clippers.

“I’ll miss Jerry,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Monday. “… I think for him it’s a great new challenge, and it’s in Los Angeles. I’ve always said to him and will always say whatever he’s happy doing makes me happy, whatever that might be. But his presence, his personality, his competitiveness, his passion for those that know him or have been around him, it’s unique.”

West called leaving Golden State one of the saddest days of his life. But the Clippers found a need for his help, and he found a new challenge. The Clippers have yet to win an NBA championship or advance to the Western Conference Finals.

“They’ve had the best team in town for seven straight years but that hasn’t been good enough,” West said. “They want to get to a different level.”

 

Chandler Parsons hires law firm, which calls car-crash injuries potentially career-ending

Chandler Parsons
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Hawks forward Chandler Parsons was involved in a car crash last week.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

It’s easy to see where this is headed. Parsons is positioning himself for a lawsuit, laying the seeds for both lost earnings and emotional distress. We might see Parsons’ future NBA salaries be litigated.

Parsons signed a four-year max contract in 2016. He hasn’t had a reasonably productive seasons since, struggling with knee issues. Parsons recently touted how healthy he felt, but that had to be viewed in context of a 31-year-old with an extensive injury history.

Parsons had played sparingly the last four seasons, including just five games this season. Did he land outside the Hawks rotation because they’re focused on youth or because he’s just no longer good enough?

That could become a question for a court room.

Parsons will be a free agent this summer. I projected him for a minimum-salary contract somewhere. He was clearly hungry for an opportunity without the max-contract burden weighing on him.

It’d be a shame if Parsons lost that because of a drunk driver.

Kyrie Irving on getting criticized: ‘They crucified Martin Luther King’

Kyrie Irving on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
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Kyrie Irving missed nearly two months with a confounding injury.

During that time… Kendrick Perkins accused Irving of faking to avoid returning to Boston. Celtics fans chanted “Kyrie sucks!” without him even there. More examples of Irving’s moodiness in Boston emerged. Kevin Garnett suggested Irving didn’t have the cojones to play for the Celtics.

YES Network (2:40 mark):

Irving:

When I was out for those seven weeks and not saying anything and still people are still saying things about me. It’s inevitable. They crucified Martin Luther King for speaking about peace and social integration. You can go back to historical leaders and great people in society that do great things, and they’re still going to talk s—about them. It is what it is.

I don’t think Irving is putting himself on King’s level but rather pointing out that even great people get attacked. This could be a way for Irving to contextualize that he shouldn’t fret about the lesser criticism he faces.

I’d give Irving that benefit of the doubt, especially considering his comments on Brooklyn hosting the 76ers on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, today.

Michael Scotto of Bleacher Report:

Irving:

It’s more than an honor. I have done so much historic research on just my community as well as they voice that I have and where I am in the position I’m in as well on the platform. I just wish there were not just holidays to commemorate some of the historical black leaders that have really put their lives on the line and lost it in the line of Civil Rights or making a social impact. Those things hit you real deep when you know the history of where the society has gone. I’m really grateful to play on Martin Luther King Day, but his legacy exists more than just a game being played on that day or Nike shoes being put out or something else. It’s so much more for our society to realize what he was really involved in and what he did in terms of communities across the world on

Again, I don’t think Irving was equating himself with King.

But can I absolutely put it past Irving, who talks as if he’s on a higher plane of existence, emphasizes his own importance and makes weird self-comparisons? No.

It also wouldn’t be the NBA’s first case of being tone deaf about King.

Report: Knicks not interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond
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The Hawks are reportedly are no longer interested in trading for Pistons center Andre Drummond.

What about the Knicks, whose trade talks with Detroit were reportedly more serious than exploratory?

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal

Like Atlanta, New York both isn’t winning anything of note this season anyway and can easily open cap space to pursue Drummond in unrestricted free agency this summer.

The Knicks also have another center in Mitchell Robinson. They should develop him rather than surrendering assets for a replacement who might not be as good as Robinson once they’re ready to win.

New York is desperate. So, a Drummond trade seemed at least plausible.

But not trading for Drummond makes the most sense. Though the Knicks could do anything, I’m inclined to believe this report.

Kristaps Porzingis expected to return Tuesday vs. Clippers after 10-game absence

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Knee soreness, followed by an illness, has had Kristaps Porzingis in street clothes for 10 games, dating back to before the first of the year.

Sunday he went through practice and expects to play Tuesday when the Mavericks host the Clippers, Porzingis told the media Sunday.

That’s pretty much what the Mavs and KP were saying last week, then knee soreness flared up again and he sat out a few more games. This time he seems ready to go, although expect him to have some reduced minutes the first couple of games back.

Porzingis is averaging 17.3 points and 9.4 rebounds a game, shooting 34.3 percent from three and providing a dangerous pick-and-pop partner for Doncic. Porzingis, who missed all of last season recovering from a torn ACL, has improved as the season has gone on and he’s gotten his legs under him.

Dallas went 6-4 without Porzingis and their league-best offense didn’t miss a beat thanks to Luka Doncic. Defensively, however, the Mavericks missed his size in the paint, giving up 6.9 points more per 100 possessions in those 10 games than they averaged when he is on the court this season.

Dallas is 27-15 on the season and currently sit fifth in the West.