It would be an understatement to claim that since the respective arrivals of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Doc Rivers, the Los Angeles Clippers have achieved the near-unthinkable ; not are they consider a more realistic Western Conference contender this season than their Staples Center co-tenants, but the team’s immediate future seems to bright, you might forget they’re owned by a horny, incompetent racist.
That is, until you read Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports’ account of Sterling’s attempts to veto his club’s Eric Bledsoe & Caron Butler for Jared Dudley & JJ Reddick swap, a meddlesome move Wojnarowski calls Doc’s “ultimate ‘welcome-to-the-Clippers’ moment” (“the kind of dysfunction that frightened prospective executives and coaches of Sterling, an eccentric, often illogical man long used to undermining and bullying staff that he had often kept on short, low-money contracts”)
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.
Redick’s representatives, led by the influential Tellem, were beyond livid. Accepting the Clippers’ word, agreeing to terms, there was no reason they wouldn’t expect this was a binding agreement. For Redick, there was nowhere left for him to get a comparable deal – never mind a contender, a city, where he wanted to play. For better or worse, he had to wait on Rivers and Sterling. There was no Plan B with which to rush and accept.
From the outside, there were those telling Rivers to unite with his superstar, Paul, and let Sterling understand they both could still walk out on him. Paul couldn’t sign his five-year, $107 million contract until July 11, but sources insist that Rivers never brought Paul into the quagmire.
Rivers’ job was to convince the owner – for a second time, in this instance – and there were those who believed a flat refusal on Sterling’s behalf could’ve resulted with Rivers’ resignation.