Skip to content

Report: Donald Sterling almost blew up Bledsoe trade, Clippers summer

Oct 28, 2013, 11:13 PM EST

Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling AP

Things are different around the Clippers organization now compared to even five years ago, let alone a decade. It’s not just the winning on the court, there is more professionalism around the entire organization.

But they are still owned by Donald Sterling, the man who is the reason for the decades of futility.

This summer the Clippers had one of the better summers of any team in the league. They got Doc Rivers to come and bring a new attitude, some motion to the offense and a more consistent defensive scheme to the team. With that they got Chris Paul to re-sign to a new five-year deal. They got J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley to be floor-spacing shooters as part of a trade of Eric Bledsoe. They made themselves into serious contenders.

Sterling almost blew the whole summer, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports in a stunning but not totally surprising story. It revolved around the three-team trade that sent Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Phoenix for Jared Dudley, with Redick getting a new contract to come to the Clippers (and the Bucks getting picks).

In the early afternoon hours of July 3, owner Donald Sterling called Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser and informed him he had rescinded approval on moving Eric Bledsoe and acquiring free agent J.J. Redick in a sign-and-trade agreement. The three-team deal – delivered the owner’s blessing only two days earlier (and had been announced) – no longer interested Sterling….

What weighed hardest on Rivers, league sources in touch with the Clippers said, was how hard he had recruited Redick, how intensely he had sold him on a different day with this franchise. And now, on Rivers’ first major deal since coming from the Celtics, everything had blown up on him.

Rivers has real power in the organization — getting the Clippers to spend money to cover up the Lakers banners was a sign of this. It had been suggested before but had never come around until Rivers really worked to change the culture. His pedigree, is title ring as a coach and his $7 million contract give him that. Sterling’s move would have blown that whole thing up and it was up to Rivers to change the owner’s mind, according to the report.

For the first few hours, these arguments were slow to register with Sterling, sources told Yahoo Sports. Looking back, only the owner knows why he attempted to blow the deal up. Yes, Sterling had been fond of Bledsoe. He was young, explosive, impactful on the Clippers’ second unit. Some believed too, that Sterling stereotyped Redick and didn’t want to pay $27 million for a bench player.

With Sterling, rational thought and debate aren’t always part of the discussion. Whatever his reasons, everyone else awaited Rivers’ conversations with Sterling. Rivers contract gave him ultimate management authority on deals, and several sources dealing with the Clippers say that Rivers was beyond embarrassed and humiliated. He feared the unraveling of the deal would cost him his credibility and paralyze him in future trade and negotiation talks, sources said.

This could have gotten much more ugly. Remember that while Chris Paul had agreed to his new max deal he couldn’t sign it until the moratorium ended July 11 — and CP3 (and his people) had not been shy about using his free agency as leverage to get what he wanted. He could have threatened to move on.

It never got there. Whatever Rivers said, within three more days everything was back on. The Clippers had a summer that made them contenders.

But you need to remember that as long as Sterling owns the team, there will always be concerns around the league because of a history of incidents just like this.

Latest Posts
  1. Former No. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic loses first kickboxing fight (VIDEO)

    Dec 20, 2014, 12:02 AM EST

    Former NBA player now trying to make his way as a fighter.

  2. Danny Ainge says uncertainty about Celtics’ ability to re-sign Rajon Rondo prompted trade to Dallas

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:50 PM EST

    Danny Ainge AP

    There are a whole host of reasons Rondo was traded; this is just the most convenient for Boston’s brass.

  3. Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard has torn ligament in right hand, return unclear

    Dec 19, 2014, 7:25 PM EST

    Kawhi Leonard AP

    Leonard was the Finals MVP for San Antonio last season.

  4. Kevin Durant to sit out vs. Lakers with ankle sprain

    Dec 19, 2014, 6:35 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    This is the smart move by the Thunder.

  5. Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

    Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 6 Getty Images

    It’s kind of moot now, but it’s not a surprise.

  6. Kobe Bryant says he’s not recruiting Kevin Durant to Lakers. Yet?

    Dec 19, 2014, 5:15 PM EST

    Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant AP

    Lakers star: ‘If the opportunity came up, then that’s the time to have that discussion’

  7. Raptors unveil new logo, get ribbed by Nets’ official Twitter account about it

    Dec 19, 2014, 4:29 PM EST

    Nets v Raptors Eastern Conference Quarter Finals Game 7 Getty Images

    Black-and-white version of Toronto’s new logo looks similar to Brooklyn’s

  8. Report: Minnesota agrees to trade Corey Brewer to Houston

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:56 PM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    This gives the Rockets a little more depth on the wing with Harden and Ariza.

  9. Kevin Durant (ankle injury) game-time decision vs. Lakers

    Dec 19, 2014, 2:15 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    Thunder star sprained ankle against Warriors

  10. Report: Mavericks targeting Jermaine O’Neal to replace Brandan Wright

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:04 PM EST

    Golden State Warriors v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Sending Wright to the Celtics leaves major hole at backup center

  11. Report: Mavericks “confident” they can re-sign Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:28 PM EST

    rondomavs

    Mark Cuban is too smart to pull the trigger on this kind of deal unless he has word he can keep his man.

  12. Report: Hornets pull Lance Stephenson off trade block

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:51 AM EST

    Charlotte Hornets v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Heat and Nets among teams that showed interest

  13. Mark Cuban finalized Rajon Rondo trade while on set for The Colbert Report finale

    Dec 19, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    Mavericks owner, one of many celebrities singing off Stephen Colbert, had his priorities in line

  14. Carmelo Anthony turning down the Bulls was a blessing in disguise for Chicago

    Dec 19, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    The Bulls are better off with their depth and flexibility.

Featured video

Jabari Parker injury latest for disappointing rookie class
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Martin (6727)
  2. C. Bosh (6490)
  3. D. Favors (6434)
  4. A. Bogut (6132)
  5. D. Cousins (6064)
  1. J. Noah (6041)
  2. T. Jones (6013)
  3. T. Parker (5978)
  4. M. Smart (5902)
  5. A. Davis (5746)