Donald Sterling Almost Undermined Clippers’ Big Offseason Trade
According to a fascinating report by Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers brilliant three-team deal to acquire J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley was almost derailed by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, whose success and reputation as owner of the team has been less than favorable to date.
“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hours of July 3, owner Donald Sterling called Los Angeles Clippers president Andy Roeser and informed him he had rescinded approval on moving Eric Bledsoe and acquiring free agent J.J. Redick in a sign-and-trade agreement.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 – no longer interested Sterling.”
Why Sterling would deny a trade as beneficial to his team as this one is beyond baffling. This trade was heavily influenced by brand-new coach Doc Rivers, who did not come cheap to Sterling’s team. And yet here was Sterling trying to kill Rivers’ first, and extremely significant, trade that would have instantly put the Clippers into title contention and over the proverbial hump.
Wojnarowski does note that sources told him “Sterling was high on Bledsoe and reluctant to trade him” which makes some sense as Bledsoe is an intriguing young talent with plenty of promise. However, he has not shown much outside of tremendous athleticism, defensive ball-hawking and capable outside shooting. His ability to be a lead point guard is still in question and he was not going to get his chance to showcase that ability for a couple years with Chris Paul still running the team.
Thankfully, Sterling came to his senses and Rivers breathed a huge sigh of relief. The acquisitions of Dudley and Redick immediately put the Clippers into the cream of the crop out West. Redick is an excellent outside shooter with size and his defense has improved remarkably since he’s come into the league. Dudley is also a very good outside shooter with a unique blend of size and athleticism for his small forward position; he is also an exceptional defender as well.
The Clippers unloaded Bledsoe to the Suns and a bloated salary in the aging Caron Butler along with draft picks to the Bucks for allowing the sign-and-trade of Redick. The Clippers are in win-now mode and this trade was a no-brainer, but for some odd reason, Donald Sterling intervened in a basketball manner that he was simply not qualified to stick his nose into.
It was a general manager and coach’s initiative to make this trade and their knowledge of the team and system should always supersede an owner’s heavy support of one player who is clearly not the cog of the team.