There is no denying this fact. It is time to shed some much deserved good light on our owner. Some of you might think im crazy but lets analyze this a little more. But before that let me start by talking about one of the believed to be top owners in the NBA, Mark Cuban. Think about it if you were a Mavericks fan wouldn’t you be upset at him or think he is overrated. Sure he pays players but thus far other than Nowitzki none of those players have been worth it.
Now let’s see what Donald Sterling has done since I started follwoing my Clippers. In the offseason of 2003 he approved the shipping of then fan favorite Darius Miles, in exchange for Andre Miller. How does everyone not fail to see this, the Clippers traded away a at the time very marketable player who was top 10 in jersey sales, for a very unmarketable boring PG in Andre Miller. But guess what at the time Andre Miller was coming off a year in which he averaged 16.5ppg and 10.9 apg to lead the NBA in assists. Those who say that Donald is only interested in money failed to see that he did the right thing here, he was trying to build a contender. This team feature Olowakandi a top 5 Center at the time, Brand a top 5 PF, Odom a top 5 SF, Maggette who had just averaged 11.4 ppg and was improving dramatically, and now they had Miller the top assist man the previous year. There bench still had Quentin Richardson who had just finished second in 6th man of the year voting, and they drafted Chris Wilcox and Melvin Ely. Unfortuantely we all know what happened. All of these guys were about to become free agents, all of them were playing for a contract. All of them played selfishly. That summer the Clippers had some decision to make. Since they knew they couldn’t afford to keep everyone on the team.
That summer Donald Sterling did the unthinkable, he matched the offer sheets Brand and Maggette had gotten from the Heat and Jazz respectively Brand’s contract was a 6yr/83million deal Maggette’s 6yr/42million this represented nearly half ot the then 44 million salary cap and that is why the Clippers could only sign two players, Andre Miller signed somewhere in the ballpark of 9 million a year with the Nuggets and Olowakandi signed for the full midlevel with Minnesota while Odom got a nice payday with Miami. But the Clippers made the right choice there is no arguing that of those players Brand paid off best. And the Clippers definetly got a good return on Maggette who always played hard for the team despite some spats with Mike Dunleavy. Are people blind to not see the Sterling was willing to spend 120 million dollars on this team.
During this time Donald Sterling signed who I personally belief is to credit for the culture change in the Clippers organization, Mike Dunleavy. Mike Dunleavy should get a lot more credit than he does for what he meant to the organization but more on that later. But this was just another move to validate my point.
The following offseason the Clippers were in the middle of the hunt of the decade, they were in the hunt for KOBE BRYANT, I don’t care what you think about Donald Sterling, he was trying to take away Kobe Bryant from the Lakers, and although Laker fans hate to even think of the possibility, it almost did happen. To this day Dunleavy assures everyone that Kobe had agreed to sign with the Clippers and that if it were not for a last minute chat with Magic, Kobe would have been teaming up with Brand and Maggette. Unfortunately that did not happen, but the Clippers did not stand pat. Instead they shipped a second round pick to the Nets for Kerry Kittles. New Jersey was in salary dumping mode and the Clippers were more than glad to add Kittles to their mix of players, they now had Kaman, Brand, Maggette, Kittles, a European project in Jaric, and Livingston the high school phenom. It looked great on paper but Kittles suffered what would be a career ending injury. But can we blame Donald Sterling for this, was it his fault that Kittles was only able to suit up for 11 games?
The next offseason was the big one, this was the one were Donald and my Clips outdid themselves. It started by signing Cutino Mobley to a multiyear deal, this was a guy who could have gone to many places but decided to come to the Clippers, thank you Cat, that year the Clippers also signed Rebraca to a 3yr 9 million dollar deal, thats right Donald paid that much money for a guy who was going to come off the bench as a back up to Kaman and Brand. They finished that offseason, with the trade that brought Cassell. Later during the season the acquired Radmanovic. All of these moves would not have been possible if Donald Sterling was not willing to pay up.
The next offseason when the Clippers lost Radmonovic to the Lakers, they went out and got Tim Thomas. He was a disappointment in the long run but at least they tried. Since then the Clippers have added many great pieces that either due to injury or bad chemistry have not worked. Among them Baron Davis, who at the time was a smart move and the Clippers really paid bigtime money for. They lost Brand, but quickly gained Marcus Camby. They tried to upgrade once the team was in a miserable funk and brought in Z-Bo, unfortunatley LA was to much for him to handle. They re-signed Chris Kaman to a huge deal. They also buid a state of the art practice facility. More recently they brought in Caron Butler through Free Agency, they re-signed DJ. And now the biggest one so far, they re-signed Griffin.
This is only a small sample of what the Clippers have done in the last 12 yrs. It is absolutely nuts to say that Donald Sterling doesn’t want to win or all he cares about is the money. Or the worst one yet Donald Sterling is cheap. Think about all these moves, Donald Sterling deserves to be taken off the cheap list.
Im going to leave you with a small true story. A couple of years ago, Bill Plaschke of the LA Times wrote an article on how horrible Donald Sterling was and how bad he was for celebrating black history month on the wrong month this is the link to that article http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/02/sports/la-sp-plaschke-20110302-10. Sure the Clippers did celebrate it on the wrong month. But Plaschke forgot to mention the Clippers were only at home for two games in the correct month, once against the Bulls and the other against the Celtics. Both of those game are moneymakers, I e-mailed Plaschke about this and he replied mad saying how if it was only the financial stuff Sterling cared about. I really do not care what was Sterling thinking all I wanted was for Plaschke to admit that he made it deceiving he made it sound like the Clippers were at home for 10 games in February and still decided to do the the game in March. The Clippers were on a huge road trip, and all-star weekend also crossed. Plus Donald Sterling still host 1,000 underprivelaged kids to a Clipper game. I guarantee you Jerry Buss would not host 1,000 kids to a game against the Bulls or the Celtics either. With the Lakers ticket prices I guarantee you Jerry Buss wont host 1,000 kids anytime soon.