Jerry West had huge impact on current Lakers

The San Francisco Chronicle (Scott Ostler) reports: Jerry West’s fingerprints are all over this shiny championship trophy, just like they’re all over the other nine. West hired Phil Jackson as Lakers coach. In ’96, West traded for just-drafted Kobe Bryant, a high school kid bypassed by 12 teams, including the Warriors. West has remained Bryant’s friend, confidant and adviser through some very hard times for Kobe, personally and professionally. It’s possible Bryant would have left the Lakers had it not been for West’s voice-of-reason counsel and friendship. The Lakers got Pau Gasol from the Grizzlies in ’08. West was the Memphis general manager from 2002 to ’07, and I know he has enormous respect for Gasol. You can bet that before that trade went down, West filled Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak’s ear about Gasol.

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