Jerry West Says If "A Player Says He's Going To Leave, Let Him Leave"

When “The Logo” speaks the Association listens. Golden State Warriors Executive Board Member Jerry West is one of the most respected figures in the history of the NBA; starting as a player back in the sixties and then turning to the front office of the Los Angeles Lakers as the architect of some of the greatest Lakers clubs of all time.

The member of the Basketball Hall Of Fame is not enamored with the sideshow that is taking place this season concerning the status of marquee players such as Magic center Dwight Howard and Nets point guard Deron Williams who can become Free Agents at the completion of the campaign. The Warriors executive was a guest on a Los Angeles radio station according to “ESPN.com” and he talked about his disdain for the attitude of some current players. West said “We have an awful lot of players who say I want to go here or I want to go there. And I think that’s what takes some of the joy out of the game and particularly fans and cities that have supported teams. You’re dealing with a superstar and probably a high-profile agent who is trying to put that player’s career, maybe, in an ancillary market where there might be more money available to you. Today, I think, you look at the real punitive damage when a player says, ‘I want you to trade me somewhere else.'”

West told the show’s hosts that if he was still a General Manager and he had a player on his roster who wanted to play for another club  that he would not want that player on his squad. West said “If I were an executive on a team where a player says he’s going to leave, let him leave. It would be better than saddling yourself with a bunch of players that are not going to fit in to what you’re trying to do; high-salaried players, in many cases overpaid players by today’s standards, that would burden you going forward. I’d almost rather start over again myself. You’re not going to replace that player, but there’s an enormous penalty there and it looks like to me like the inmates are running the asylum if you let that happen.”

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies are two examples of clubs that went from being basement dwellers to Playoff contenders in a relatively short time. The overhaul that the Los Angeles Clippers have undergone has turned around their fortunes; even the Minnesota Timberwolves are starting to resemble an actual NBA franchise this season. Earlier this week Orlando General Manager Otis Smith told members of the media that he had no plans to make any trades at this time despite the Magic’s lackluster play of late.

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