Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Why did Donald Sterling almost block the Eric Bledsoe trade?


Suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has known to be a meddler. Such meddling nearly squashed a three-way deal last summer that netted the Phoenix Suns prized guard Eric Bledsoe, and the reasoning behind it may align with the racially-spewing recorded on the audio tape that has Sterling in such a complicated scandal.

One player involved in that summer deal, J.J. Redick, told USA Today’s Sam Amick that Sterling didn’t want to give Redick a four-year, $27 million contract because of his race.

The Suns had agreed to send Jared Dudley to the Clippers and second-round pick to the Milwaukee Bucks while receiving Bledsoe and veteran Caron Butler’s expiring contract. The Bucks would then sign and trade Redick, giving Los Angeles two older wing players to stretch the floor around Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

But it almost didn’t go through, either because of Redick’s race or Sterling’s general stinginess.

“I’ve been told both ways: one, that he didn’t want to pay me because I was white, and that he didn’t want to pay me because I was a bench player,” Redick said. “I didn’t know (the deal almost fell apart) until after the fact. I just got a weird phone call from Doc on July 4, and I got off the phone and said to my wife, ‘Something’s going on.’ He’s like, ‘You better play for me (expletive).’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the plan. We figured this out two days ago, right?’

“And then he just rambled a bit. … but he never really got into the nuts and bolts of what was happening. And then I got a call about 48 hours later from my agent, and he said, ‘We wanted to keep you out of it, but here’s what happened.’”

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski was first to detail the deal that almost didn’t go through, but the language in that account from October was unsurprisingly about Sterling’s illogic — or more logically, his fondness for Bledsoe.

Redick’s openness about the process of becoming a Clipper only supported Wojnarowski’s more recent piece from a week ago:

… Sterling didn’t want to so easily part with Eric Bledsoe, despite (Doc) Rivers telling him they could never afford to pay Bledsoe in restricted free agency next summer. That was part of it, yes, but those who knew Sterling – who had history with him – believed largely that his disdain for paying $7 million per year for a white player caused him pause.

And this is why the NBA’s advisory and finance committee, including member and Suns owner Robert Sarver, is planning to oust Sterling from his ownership of the Clippers.

They don’t want to work with a man who thinks like that, or one who operates so randomly and recklessly within his employees’ work.

  • Milich Kosanovich

    So according to the allegations Sterling believes Blacks are inferior to Whites yet he prefers to pay his Black players more than his White players. Isn’t that contradictory to being a racist?

    Lets see, the NAACP gave Sterling their Humanitarian Award in 2009, it’s President’s Award in 2009 and was set to give him their Lifetime Achievement Award on May 15.

    It appears not all Blacks have an issue with him. Funny how money can make racism tolerable.

  • Hawki

    Sterling reminds me of my grandfather, who would be more than a 100 years old if he were still alive….making disparaging comments about Black people, yet would only get his car washed by Black kids because they worked harder than the “lazy” White kids…..or guaranteeing that Arthur Ashe would beat Jimmy Connors at the US Open (back in the 70′s) because the White kid couldn’t beat the Black kid.
    Humans are extremely complex creatures that can’t easily be painted in black/white tones (no pun intended) but rather a million shades of gray.

    • Milich Kosanovich

      In Sterling’s case I believe you mean a million shades of green$$$$$

      • Hawki

        LOL…. Everyone has their price….or so they say
        ps…What is the Houston press saying about the Rockets ?

        • Milich Kosanovich

          Actually not much. it seems the fans nor the media had much faith in them bringing home the title this season. The TV news channels focused lot on Lillard’s killer last shot.

    • KlausFlouride

      Well said.

  • Salvador Dali

    Sterling really sounds more prejudiced than racist. People tend to think of them as the same thing but they aren’t. Prejudiced people have preconceived ideas about people of other races, religions, etc. but don’t actually hate those people although they do prefer associating with people more like themselves. True racists just have an irrational hate of people of a different race. It’s a small point but someone who is prejudiced can actually have good relationships/friendships with someone of a different race on an individual basis. True racists never do that.

    I’m NOT trying to defend Sterling or anything that he has said or done but racism and prejudice aren’t really the same thing even though there is a fine line between the two. Both are bad but prejudice is the lesser of the two evils. Regardless of all that I’ve said. Sterling is still an ass and deserves to loose the Clips.