Jerry West on Unhappy NBA Superstars: ‘Call Their Bluff’

by February 03, 2012

Jerry West says that NBA front-offices dealing with star players who are demanding trades, such as Dwight Howard, should see just how serious they are about losing big-time money by going to another team. From ESPN: “Asked what he would do as a lead executive in a situation where a superstar has made it known he wants out, the ex-Laker executive said it was fairly clear-cut. ‘I honestly think I’d call their bluff,’ West said. ‘I really would, because I don’t think any agent or player is going to leave $30 million on the table. I just don’t believe that’s going to happen.’ West, of course, was referencing the provision in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement that allows players to re-sign with their current teams for one more year and more annual money than any other squad. He cited that as the primary reason he wouldn’t comply with a superstar’s trade demands. And he also said he wouldn’t want a player on his team who didn’t want to be there and wouldn’t want many of the players that would come back in a deal for a high-salaried superstar. ‘If I were an executive on a team where a player says he’s going to leave, let him leave,’ West said. ‘It would be better than saddling yourself with a bunch of players that are not going to fit in to what you’re trying to do — high-salaried players, in many cases overpaid players by today’s standards, that would burden you going forward. I’d almost rather start over again myself. You’re not going to replace that player, but there’s an enormous penalty there and it looks like to me like the inmates are running the asylum if you let that happen.'”