In the immediate aftermath of the Lakers' series-clinching victory, Laker great Jerry West got on the mic to spread Christmas joy and regale Kobe with compliments (as pictured to the right). Again, West is a Laker great. He was the architect of the last 200 Lakers teams which made it to the Finals. He looks unequivocally comfortable amid all that Forum blue and gold. His presence at center court in-and-of-itself is worth only a glance.
But considering his consultant role in Memphis, following several years running the Grizzly show, and considering a significant reason the Lakers have gotten to the Finals is named Pau Gasol, and considering the Lakers acquired Gasol in a deal which was universally considered heavily lopsided, to the point in which executives from several NBA teams reacted by openly saying there should be a committee of team execs which is allowed, fantasy-style, to veto such lopsided trades, and considering that last summer Kobe made an ultimatum which consisted of "bring back Jerry West or trade me," and considering West has a history of seriously not giving a flip about what anyone thinks about anything he does ever, and considering once again that West is for all intents and porpoises a lifelong Laker ... should we be concerned with him showing up on TNT before Marv's brow even dries?
West has been connected deeply to the Lakers franchise since 1960. I'm not saying he locked Chris Wallace and Michael Heisley in a cell and forced them to trade Gasol for a highly questionable package of ifs, ands, and maybes. But as a trusted consultant (and one of the top basketball minds in the world), he could have been in their ears, arguing the overblown "flexibility" perspective and talking up Javaris Crittenton as the next coming of Wade as simple ruse to get his real loyalties the steal of the decade.
Back in February, West denied involvement. But we wouldn't be talking about any of this if West wasn't on TV ten seconds after the final whistle. (And, of course, it's unlikely West gives a giggle that we are talking about it.)