Donald Sterling nearly sabotaged Clippers trade of Eric Bledsoe


The much-maligned owner nearly caused a Clipper implosion before the start of one of the franchise's most promising seasons.

The Los Angeles Clippers have morphed into what many believe is a legitimate title contender. A new, high-profile coach in Doc Rivers and several fresh additions to an already explosive offense have vaulted the once bottom-feeding franchise into a new place among the NBA's elite.

But Donald Sterling nearly ruined it all.

More: Clips Nation

According to a report from Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the oft-maligned owner nearly blocked the deal that sent Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix and brought J.J. Redick to Los Angeles from Milwaukee. Had Sterling gotten his way, the report stated, the Clippers may have been looking at a future, not only without Redick, but without Rivers and perhaps even Chris Paul, who had just agreed to a 5-year, $107 million extension.

Sterling's stance left the team's head coach in a difficult position. From Wojnarowski:

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.

The situation was made even more complex by the fact Redick had passed up on other lucrative opportunities elsewhere, including one for similar money with the Timberwolves. Given that the NBA's free agent moratorium was nearing its end, the shooting guard was left with a potentially disastrous situation. Rivers and the Clippers were, too.

There was no Plan B for Redick, and the situation had gotten to a point where there was a real possibility that Rivers and Paul would unite against their owner and walk out. No one but Rivers will ever know if it came to that, but the fact of the matter is, according to Woj's replort, Sterling nearly ruined what looks to be one of — if not the most — promising years in the Clippers history.

The NBA season is officially upon us, and so is Donald Sterling.

More from SB Nation NBA:

Welcome back, NBA! In-depth previews for all 30 teams

The Hook: Kobe's next contract and judging LA's motives

NBA Power Rankings: Miami debuts on top, but who's No. 2?

Assessing the 9 rookie head coaches

Flinder Boyd: 20 minutes at Rucker Park

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.