In the time that has passed since the NBA was effectively able to move off former LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, there has been much to come about his mishandlings with the franchise. Sterling has many skeletons in the closet that give a clearer picture of the problematic and often prude and racist person he showed to be. Many instances leave you scratching your head about his thought process and beliefs concerning running an NBA team. One of those situations that arose involved nearly passing on bringing aboard veteran guard J.J. Redick to the Clippers.
Donald Sterling’s poor management of the Clippers
Following the purchase of the then-San Diego Clippers, the franchise has remained mostly irrelevant in the NBA.
The franchise struggled to find any consistent success while garnering the reputation as one of the worst organizations in the league. Much of that came from the poor management from Sterling as his method and beliefs for running an NBA team were nothing short of puzzling and full of disappointment.
Near the tail end of his tenure atop the franchise, Sterling had another one of his bizarre situations arise involving Redick.
Why Donald Sterling nearly passed on signing J.J. Redick
Shortly after being acquired by the Clippers, Doc Rivers went to work in the summer of 2013 to build further a team that can contend for an NBA title. One of the team’s first moves was landing sharpshooter J.J. Redick in a free agency sign-and-trade deal.
Before that transaction was finalized, Sterling nearly stepped in to prevent the move. During a recent interview on #NBATOGETHER with TNT’s Ernie Johnson, Rivers revealed that the former Clippers owner didn’t want to sign Redick because he was white. (H/T Kurt Helin of NBC Sports)
“I think he was going to sign with Minnesota, I literally talk JJ out of it, ‘Come play with me. Come play with the Clippers with Chris Paul and DJ and Blake [Griffin], you’d be a great fit.’… The free agent signing is done, JJ agrees, I jump on a plane, I fly back to Orlando, and I get a call from Andy Roeser, and he says, ‘the deal’s off.’ I say, ‘what do you mean the deal’s off?’
“‘Donald doesn’t like white players.'”
“I said, ‘excuse me?’ ‘Donald Sterling said no.’ I said, ‘well, we’ve already agreed.’ I’m in the garage at the Orlando Airport, Ernie, I get a call from Coach K, who is upset because of JJ I get a call from JJ’s agent, I think it was Arn Tellem [Ed. note: It was] who screaming at me.
Rivers continued to state that he had to argue with Sterling about the move that led to his voice that would quit. The intense back-and-forth conversation gave him the sense that he may have lost his job with the Clippers, but three hours later, he received a phone call that he had the green light for the move.
That only further painted the picture that things were going to head south at some point down the line.
Clippers were a ticking time bomb under Donald Sterling
The writing had been on the wall all along, and it finally fell apart after a leaked recording nearly a year after this point.
The Clippers may have fielded a talented team on the court that was a constant in the playoffs, but internally things were falling apart. It was only a matter of time before the situation was going to awry in Los Angeles.
The NBA just needed a scenario to move on from Sterling, and it received it with the now infamous audio recording making public airwaves.