General manager Ryan McDonough’s first major move for the Phoenix Suns almost never came to fruition, even after all teams involved had agreed upon and announced the deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling tried to call off the deal that sent Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to the Suns in exchange for Jared Dudley; it was a three-team trade that also saw Milwaukee send J.J. Redick to Los Angeles in exchange for second round draft picks from both the Suns and Clippers.
The deal was announced on July 2. But, according to Wojnarowski, Sterling called team president Andy Roeser on the afternoon of July 3, wanting to renege on the trade.
Sterling apparently wasn’t enthused about the acquisitions of Dudley and Redick — particularly Redick, who agreed to a four-year, $27 million contract as part of the sign-and-trade deal. New Clippers head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations Doc Rivers was the one who wanted Dudley and Redick on the team, thinking the two would fit in well with his system.
Additionally, Sterling wasn’t happy about parting with Bledsoe.
Yes, Sterling had been fond of Bledsoe. He was young, explosive, impactful on the Clippers’ second unit. Some believed too, that Sterling stereotyped Redick and didn’t want to pay $27 million for a bench player.
Rivers’ contract gives him ultimate management authority on deals, and the former Boston Celtics coach reportedly wasn’t too happy — embarrassed even — about being second-guessed by his new owner.
Technically, the Clippers could have still backed out of the agreement, since Redick was a free agent and the team could have rescinded its offer to him because the official free agency period didn’t start until July 11.
Sources told the Yahoo! writer that if Sterling kept pushing the trade cancellation, then Rivers might have given him his resignation papers in return.
Ultimately, Sterling was pacified somehow, Rivers stayed and the deal went through, helping Phoenix land its coveted combo guard, and marking the first major deal for McDonough and Rivers, both of whom worked for the Celtics organization up until a season ago.