Skip to content

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

Oct 28, 2013, 11:13 PM EDT

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hours of July 3, owner Donald Sterling called Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser and informed him he had rescinded approval on moving Eric Bledsoe and acquiring free agent J.J. Redick in a sign-and-trade agreement.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. Matt Bonner blames down shooting season on iPhone 6

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:17 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Four Getty Images

    Bonner claims a Spurs strength-and-conditioning coach supports the theory

  2. Report: Mo Williams signing with Cavaliers for most of their MLE

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:04 PM EDT

    Mo Williams, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving AP

    Cleveland fills its biggest need with its second-best roster-building mechanism

  3. Reports: Mavericks re-sign J.J. Barea for two-years, $5.6 million

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT

    J.J. Barea J.J. Barea

    This is a solid signing, but the Mavs need more help at the guard spot.

  4. Report: Cavaliers, Clippers discussing Jamal Crawford for Brendan Haywood trade

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    This trade could work for both teams if the Clippers can flip Haywood’s contract again for a big man.

  5. Reports: David West agrees to veteran minimum deal to play for Spurs

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    David West David West

    West left $10.6 million on the table to go to a contender.

  6. Report: Dallas thinking of bringing back Jason Terry

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:12 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two Getty Images

    Signing Terry would go over well with the fan base in Dallas

  7. Manu Ginobili tweets he’ll play next season

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Manu Ginobli #20 of the San Antonio Spurs gestures to a teammate in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Can the Spurs keep Patty Mills and Boris Diaw, too? Ginobili must still negotiate a contract

  8. Report: Cavaliers-Nets Joe Johnson trade talks stagnate

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:36 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nobody wants Anderson Varejao and his contract

  9. Report: Nuggets hire Ed Pinckney as assistant coach

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg, Ed Pinckney AP

    Michael Malone lands a good lieutenant

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5680)
  2. W. Matthews (3780)
  3. D. Jordan (3775)
  4. R. Rondo (3257)
  5. D. Wade (3218)
  1. R. Hibbert (3124)
  2. D. West (3048)
  3. K. Bryant (2941)
  4. R. Lopez (2938)
  5. T. Harris (2896)