Jerry West not impressed by Lakers luring LeBron James: 'Not a tough free-agent signing'

Jerry West, now working for the Clippers, went out of his way to downplay the Lakers landing LeBron James. (AP)

The Los Angeles Lakers’ signing of LeBron James has been discussed ad nauseam, but when Jerry West speaks up, the NBA world tends to listen.

The Lakers icon who is currently an executive board member with the Los Angeles Clippers spoke with Sports Illustrated about James’ arrival in L.A. and appears less than impressed with his former team’s offseason work.

Jerry West not impressed

“All due respect to the Lakers, who handled everything well, but as these things go, LeBron was not a tough free-agent signing,” West told SI. “LeBron wanted to come to L.A. and he wanted to come to the Lakers. Period.

“He has a family he’s thinking about. He has a home here. He has a son whom he wants to keep in one school in Los Angeles. He will be a celebrity out here, sure, but it’s a place where, once in a while, he can get lost, be himself. You can’t do that everywhere.”

Shot from an L.A. rival?

West, a veteran executive who helped lure Shaquille O’Neal to the Lakers in 1996, isn’t exactly saying anything groundbreaking here. James has been rumored to have interest in the Lakers for a long time, and Las Vegas made the Lakers a heavy betting favorite to land James for the exact same reasons West laid out.

But for West to go out of his way to diminish the accomplishment of fellow Lakers icon and current Lakers executive Magic Johnson seems a bit odd. But maybe that’s just what you do when you work for the Clippers.

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