Jerry West left the Golden State Warriors to join the front office of the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason. West described his departure from the Warriors as difficult in an interview with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic.
"Frankly it was very sad, OK? It really was," said West. "A place where I thought that if I was going to work another year or if somebody wanted me to work another year, I thought I could contribute; I did not want to leave. I did not want to leave. I was very happy there.
"But those things happen sometimes. Obviously to be around a bunch of players that were as together as any I’ve seen and I think more importantly the talent that was on that team and to see the joy. There’s a lot of joy there. I think those are the kind of environments where people really prosper.
"And getting to know Steve (Kerr) a lot better than I did before… I think the one thing about him, he’s a remarkable person. He’s continuing to grow as a coach. But he seems to have a great way with these people, working with Bob (Myers), who I’ve known forever… I don’t even call it work. Being around Bob. And more importantly seeing Travis (Schlenk, now the Atlanta general manager) get a job. I’m thrilled for him. Very deserving. And also the people in the scouting department up there and the fun I had up there.
"You don’t always in your life have a chance to work in environments like that. And the ownership group, to have that many diverse people who were so successful. To see the decisions that were made up there to make this possible… it was kind of a storybook six years to be honest with you.
"Everyone talks about, ‘well, this team is loading up to beat the Warriors,' right? Well, everyone’s playing for second place right now.
"There’s one thing you can’t ever guard against is (injuries), losing your players that are unique. But there’s a joy to that place that I’ve never been around before. When you get older, certainly that plays a big part when you’re no longer there."
West was then asked by Kawakami why he left the Warriors if he wanted to remain with the franchise.
"It was time for me to leave. I’m in Los Angeles again. For me, I’ll have a chance to go in the office a little bit and watch some of the people that have been hired, to watch our coaches coach. I’ve often said I’ve done some crazy things in my life because of the timing and maybe the timing was right."