TUESDAY, 9:13pm: Rivers has confirmed Wojnarowski’s story, according to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com (Twitter link).
MONDAY, 9:02pm: Clippers owner Donald Sterling instructed team president Andy Roeser to call off the team’s three-team swap that brought in J.J. Redick on a sign-and-trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Sterling only consented to the deal after Doc Rivers appealed to him to change his mind.
Front office executives from the Bucks, Suns, Clippers, along with Redick, whose willingness to join the Clippers in the sign-and-trade was at the center of the deal, reached an agreement on July 2nd, but Sterling called Roeser the next day to veto the trade. Sterling had OK’d the deal on July 1st, but had a change of heart. That left Rivers “beyond embarrassed and humiliated,” Wojnarowski hears, as Rivers feared the failure of the trade would short-circuit his credibility in his new role as Clippers senior vice president of basketball operations. Redick and agent Arn Tellem were incensed, as well, since the sharpshooter’s other suitors had moved on once the news that he was headed to the Clippers had emerged.
Rivers heard appeals to bring Chris Paul along with him to lobby Sterling, but Paul ultimately wasn’t involved, Wojnarowski writes. Rivers never threatened to resign when he spoke with Sterling, but a source tells Wojnarowski that Rivers stepping down was a possibility.
Ultimately, the mercurial Sterling changed his mind before the league’s July Moratorium ended on July 10th and allowed the deal to go through. The incident showcases the volatility of any trade before it’s officially announced, but it also casts suspicion on the level of trust between Sterling, Rivers and the rest of the front office. Sterling was fond of Eric Bledsoe, who went to Phoenix in the swap, and some believe he questioned the wisdom of awarding Redick a four-year, $27.755MM contract when he’s often been a bench player, according to Wojnarowski. Still, it’s unclear what made Sterling hesitate and ultimately change his mind.