In the opening quarter of the 2014 season, J.J. Redick scored 12 points. He broke free for 3-pointers, curled hard around screens and did all the things Redick has come to be known to do in the league. Starting at shooting guard in the opening night lineup, Redick looked to be an absolute steal for the Clippers as they looked to claim Los Angeles for the blue and red over the Lakers' purple and gold.
Even with the opening night loss Tuesday, the Clippers are still viewed as the better team and the ones to watch out for in the Pacific Division, if not in the entire Western Conference.
Oh, but the Clippers are still THAT franchise. And Donald Sterling is still very much their owner.
And that means craziness, deceit and general money pinching will exist to keep the Clippers from contending for a championship. This franchise has not changed very much at all.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports! reports Donald Sterling nearly killed the deal that sent Eric Bledsoe to the Suns for Redick and Jared Dudley (two starters on this year's team). It got so bad that Doc Rivers considered bailing on his contract — that he just signed — if Sterling would not approve of the deal.
With Sterling, rational thought and debate aren't always part of the discussion. Whatever his reasons, everyone else awaited Rivers' conversations with Sterling. 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.
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.
It sounds like another day in Clipper-land.
Sterling's misgivings about the deal came from his personal affection for Eric Bledsoe as a player and his misgivings about giving so much money to Redick, who to that point had only been a bench player in his career. Sounds like Sterling has taken his prejudices to different heights.
When the Clippers signed Doc Rivers, there was certainly some trepidation that this was the same old Clippers and that something like this would get pulled. The Clippers do not have the most sterling reputation.
In the end, Doc Rivers won the struggle. The desire to win a championship by those within the organization (Sterling notwithstanding) appeared to win out. Chris Paul was resigned and Redick was brought on board.
The expectations should continue to run wild from there.