Jerry West has had some success in luring big name free agents as an executive. When he was running the Los Angeles Lakers, he signed Shaquille O'Neal away from the Orlando Magic. While he wasn't the main executive in charge this time around when the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Hall of Fame guard was part of the Warriors' brain trust in charge of shaping the organization. Shortly after the Durant decision, the league was up in arms about it.
Even NBA commissioner Adam Silver was looking toward examining some possible "corrections" within the system that allowed a player of Durant's caliber to join a team that just won 73 games and nearly a second straight title. While Silver said at the time that he didn't want to overreact to the Durant signing, he did state there were things to re-examine and alter within the league's CBA and free agency system. That overall sentiment from Silver and the owners was definitely something that ground West's gears. On The TK Show, West talked about comments from owners and others saying it's unfair to the people involved in this signing and teams in a position in the future who may make a signing of that stature. He even said he called Silver and voiced his displeasure with those comments.
"It's sour grapes," West said. "We signed Shaquille O'Neal and it wasn't as big an uproar as this. Listen, the owners make the rules. They negotiate with the players. And for them to say something like that, to me it's wrong on their part. The commissioner said something like that and I called him about it. I told him I didn't think the comment was fair. It's not fair to Kevin. It's not fair to the Warriors. It's not fair to any team going forward who will sign a free agent of this stature.
"The players bargained for this. They have a chance to go play where they want to. I only wish I had that opportunity in my career and I'm sure a lot of other people felt the same way."
West isn't wrong. To think the system is flawed and broken because this anomaly happened is irrational and a complete overreaction. It doesn't mean things in the collective bargaining agreement can't be changed, but the weird set of circumstances and timing that allowed the Warriors to be in this position is more random than it is a loophole. Does a loophole of such randomness require a drastic change to the system and how the NBA is run in the subsequent offseasons?
It doesn't mean you have to like it from a competitive standpoint or from an enjoyment of the league standpoint, but to say the league needs fixing because of this is too knee-jerk for its own good. We'll just have to wait and see if the owners agree with West when the next collective bargaining agreement is being negotiated.