Grizzlies officially extend West's contract two years

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Jerry West signed a two-year contract
extension Monday, agreeing to remain through 2008 as president of
the Memphis Grizzlies.

West came out of retirement three years ago to join the
Grizzlies after spending almost four decades with the Los Angeles
Lakers as player, coach and executive. He was in the last year of a
four-year agreement with Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley.

"I've retired once and it didn't do very well for me," West
said. "This is a life that I know well."

In Memphis, West created a team that topped a franchise-best 28
victories with 50 wins in 2003-04 to make a first trip to the NBA
playoffs. The Grizzlies also made the playoffs last season but were
swept for the second time as tensions rose between coach Mike
Fratello and key players.

West rebuilt the Grizzlies in the offseason, removing Jason Williams, Bonzi Wells, Earl Watson and James Posey and bringing in NBA veterans Damon Stoudamire, Eddie Jones and Bobby Jackson.

"Coming here to practice is a pleasure this year. It's really a
pleasure," West said as he waited for an after-practice talk with

"We have a veteran group of guys who have been extremely
helpful to our younger players," West added. "But more
importantly, they brought something here that's contagious. When
you walk in, you see a lot of happy faces. Our coaches are

West said the goal is clear this season.

"Win a playoff series," he said.

West retired as general manager of the Lakers in 2000. When he
joined the Grizzlies, he said he found retirement boring.

"This franchise has been important to me," he said. "And it's much more important now than when I first got here because, you know, I'm so familiar with everyone. We've got a great group of people to work with."

Fratello was persuaded to leave broadcasting and return to
coaching by West in December 2004. He replaced Hubie Brown, who
retired after he was brought to Memphis by West in 2002.

Fratello was leaving the practice court when he heard about the
contact extension.

"I know the team will love to hear that," he said. "I think
our players really trust in Jerry, trust in the fact that he will
continue to keep this team in the playoff-competition mode of not
letting us slide."

Mike Miller, traded from Orlando to Memphis in 2003, said he and the other Grizzlies were pleased with West's decision.

"When I got traded, one of the things I was excited about was
having him here," he said. "So now we know we've got him for at
least a couple of more years."