Jerry West is a true legend of the NBA, and he proved that during his playing years back several decades ago but also running and managing successful teams later in his career. West is involved in the NBA for the past 60 years and he’s seen almost everything as a player and working in the front office for several teams. He has tremendous experience and in a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show, he talked about the difference of building championship-caliber teams in the past and in the current NBA.
West believes things are not as easy as they used to be because the league itself evolved and have more money on the table to offer. This means a lot of teams will spend that money on players that perhaps don’t deserve that amount in the first place.
“It’s so much more complex today. Last year there were 21 teams that had an enormous amount of money to spend. It was like $1.7 billion spent on player’s salaries. I’ve always felt cap space is the “fools goal” because sooner or later you will have to spend it. Some teams will pay someone an exuberate amount of money for 2 years that certainly should not be in the category of these truly great players.”
In recent years a new trend became more popularized than ever before in which players often change teams and it’s not on their mind to stay with one franchise for their entire career. West believes players today have more choice than the older generation had which is the result of the increased popularity basketball and NBA specifically reached in the recent couple of decades. West is happy the players today are doing so well financially which is a good proof a lot of things are done in the right way by the NBA’s management.
“There is always 1 or 2 prizes out there every year and it is really difficult. It’s difficult to maintain teams today because of free agency. Kids today have a choice, but when we played we had no choice. Basketball has been blessed with some great leaders who have grown the fortune for players today because of the increasing popularity of this league. Not just in this country but worldwide and I’m thrilled for the players. I don’t care how much money they make, I’m thrilled for them. For everyone who is overpaid we had a lot underpaid players.”