After decades under the dark shadow cast by former owner Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers are facing brighter days highlighted by the arrival of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
But before he was ousted from the league in 2014 for being racist, Sterling was the source of numerous wild stories as the inept owner of the downtrodden franchise. And they’re still coming out, with a new one provided Wednesday by head coach Doc Rivers.
The time Sterling tried to screw over JJ Redick
Rivers regaled a remarkable if not-so-shocking tale to the Los Angeles’ Times Arash Markazi about the time he told Sterling he quit after the then-Clippers owner decided to back out on a deal with shooting guard JJ Redick.
The year was 2013. Rivers was six days on the job. And the Clippers had just completed a sign-and-trade for Redick from the Milwaukee Bucks with a verbal agreement to pay him $27 million over four years.
“I was on the job for six days and I quit,” Rivers told Markazi. “The deal went through and everyone said it was a great deal. I flew back home to Orlando for a couple of days and I got a call from [former Clippers president] Andy Roeser saying Donald Sterling decided he didn’t want to do the deal. I said, ‘What do you mean? The deal is already done. JJ is a free agent. He backed out of a deal to sign with us. If we don’t do this deal we’ll never get another free agent. It’s our word.’”
Redick had turned down other offers that were no longer available, and Rivers was furious with Sterling for the stunning breach of integrity.
“I was in the airport parking lot screaming, ‘No, no, no, no! You’re not going to do this!” Rivers told Markazi. “‘This is my reputation!’ He just went on and on about his reputation and how great it was.”
Things worked out for Doc
Sterling, of course, eventually relented, according to Rivers, as Redick went on to play four seasons with the Clippers.
The whole story is worth a read if only for a laugh at Sterling’s notorious incompetence.
Now Sterling is gone and Rivers is still in L.A. coaching a championship-caliber roster.