TORONTO - Simply known as the Logo, Jerry West will always be known as one of the game’s greatest players and evaluators of talent.
Among his shrewdest deals was the draft-day acquisition of Kobe Bryant from Charlotte in exchange for Vlade Divac.
West’s opinions carry plenty of sway, which is why folks in L.A. should be alarmed at the words he expressed at a business luncheon.
“I don’t think the Lakers will be good for much longer,” West said. “You can keep a car running for a long time by changing the tires, etc. You can’t change a player’s tires.”
No player has added more mileage on his tires than Bryant, who continues to step up, and backcourt partner Derek Fisher, who is showing signs of decline.
No doubt the two-time reigning champions are getting older and head coach Phil Jackson is expected to step down following this season, but as long as Bryant is healthy it’s safe to say the Lakers will contend.
How much longer remains the issue.
“I think Boston is a very dangerous team,” West said of another aging team. “I would not want to play them every other night.”