Clippers leave an empty seat for Jerry West in their war room at 'bittersweet' draft without him

Thu, Jun 27, 2024
NBA News (AP)

Clippers leave an empty seat for Jerry West in their war room at 'bittersweet' draft without him

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The two-day NBA draft was tinged with sadness for the Los Angeles Clippers without Jerry West in their war room.

West spent the last seven years as a consultant for the team, helping recruit Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

The Hall of Fame player and executive died on June 12 at age 86.

"He loved the draft. It was like Christmas," Lawrence Frank, the team's president of basketball operations, said Thursday. "He loved knowing every single player, he loved meeting the players. Took great pride in where guys would go. After the draft selections were made, he was so happy."

The team left a seat for West in their war room and "put some of his favorites on there," Frank said.

"We just want to honor and respect Jerry every single day."

The Clippers didn't have a first-round pick this year. They took Minnesota's Cameron Christie with the 46th pick in the second round.

Frank said he and general manager Trent Redden valued West as "an unbelievable mentor, friend and adviser."

"It's a bittersweet day," Frank said. "Very sad that Jerry wasn't here for it."

The West Virginia-born West starred at West Virginia University from 1957-60 before becoming the second overall pick in the NBA draft by the Minneapolis Lakers. The team relocated to Los Angeles and he became a 14-time All-Star and won the 1972 NBA championship with the Lakers. He later worked for the team as an executive.

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