Players react to Clippers' pending sale to Steve Ballmer

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Another NBA team sold for bonkers money this week. Just three years after a lockout, some players are understandably confused by this situation.

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The bizarre saga of Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers appears to be nearing its conclusion with a sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but some NBA players aren't celebrating the occasion.

Given Sterling's incredible return -- he bought the team for $12.5 million in 1981, will reportedly sell for $2 billion -- just three years after a lockout, some players are wondering exactly why owners were crying poor in 2011. The fact that Sterling's got such an ugly reputation and still came away with bags of cash isn't leaving anyone thrilled.

Back in 2011, the league locked out players for a portion of the season to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, one that most would consider a clear victory for the owners. Since then, several teams have sold for record-breaking amounts, including small-market franchises like the Bucks and Kings.

That understandably makes it easy for players to wonder why the league initiated the 2011 lockout, and a perception of greed could have interesting implications when the next round of CBA negotiations starts up later this decade. But for now, everyone will probably just need to accept that any owner who purchased his team before the TV rights boom will be able to walk away a much, much wealthier person.

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