Jerry West on Steve Nash Joining Lakers, Dwight Howard’s Still Uncertain Future

July 23, 2012 – 8:30 am by Michael Bean

The Logo. Always good to hear what Mr. Jerry West thinks about the state of affairs in the National Basketball Association. And with the Los Angeles Lakers having made a splash in this year’s free agency, West is asked by Dan Patrick whether he thinks the balance of power has shifted out west, and whether the Lakers might still have a big move in them, namely for Dwight Howard.

West joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about what all goes into trying to pull of a big trade like he did for Shaquille O’Neal earlier in his career, why he thinks the Knicks let Jeremy Lin get away to the Rockets, what he thinks of Lin’s game, if he thinks the addition of Steve Nash to the Lakers will change the pecking order in the Western Conference, and if he thinks Kobe Bryant will in fact only play two more years.

On all that goes into trying to pull of a trade for a star caliber player such as Shaq or Dwight Howard:

“Well Dan it’s become so much more complex today than it was in the past. It seems like to me that the players, and particularly the agents, are trying to deliver a player that he really wants to go. And I think he’s made it abundantly clear that he wants to end up in Brooklyn, but that looks like it’s off the table and now it seems he’s run out of suitors so to speak, and people in particular that can give something back to Orlando that’s going to give them an opportunity to build a team going forward. And it’s much more complicated today than it has been in the past.”

On why he thinks the Knicks let Jeremy Lin go:

“Well I think the last year of his deal would cost them $30 million dollars, and I don’t think anyone would feel he’s worth $30 million dollars because you’re in the luxury tax. Jeremy’s been a great story and a kid that frankly had an opportunity to start with the Warriors, but because of a trade that was made he was let go, and he went to Houston and was let go. And then all of a sudden, the same team that let him go values him greatly and they’re going to put him in a position where the last year of his deal is worth like $14 million dollars. So I’m happy for him. I’m happy for any player that kids paid, and particularly someone that comes the hard route to get there. And I’m delighted that he’s going to get to play in Houston even though in New York he was sort of a cult hero there.”

If he thinks the Lakers adding Steve Nash changes the pecking order in the Western Conference:

“I don’t know if it changes the pecking order, but it does give them a player late in the game where Kobe Bryant doesn’t have to do all the work. He’s going to be able to get guys much better shots and he can make a shot consistently. He’s 38 years of age, he’s a wonderful athlete, and one of the things I think they needed, I think they needed more leadership on the team — he’s going to provide that. And they need to be more athletic. My only question is are they going to be better defensively. When I watched them last year, obviously I have great admiration for all they’ve accomplished, but I would think do they get better defensively. But I guaranteed they’ll be better offensively and more efficient.”

If he believes that Kobe Bryant will in fact only play for two more years as he’s stated:

“Well he’s such a competitive person, but I think at the end of the day he wants to be able to compete at the highest level. And I don’t think there’s any question that as players go along, you see a difference in their play. You won’t see as many forays to the basket and dunks, but he’s so incredibly skilled and he’s so efficient, I think here’s a player that if he’s on the right team and around the right players, particularly if he’s healthy and injury free which he has been able to do, then he should be able to play longer than that if he wants to. But it takes an enormous amount of hard work, preparation and pressure on someone like him to produce every night. So that’s going to be up to him, but I don’t see from a talent standpoint that he’d lose that much, but from a physical stand point, when you start to lose it, you lose it.”

Listen here to West on The Dan Patrick Show (interview begins at 15:35 mark)

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