Edit: This post was made independent of shap's post. I'm not arguing that Sterling isn't bad, but merely that he arguably isn't the worst.
Various legal issues and scandals aside, is Sterling really the worst owner in the NBA? Or, put another way: when players make their free agent decisions, do they really say, "Psh...I don't want to play for that guy." And if so, is it warranted?
Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers
Okay, so he's actually a pretty good owner. But this is still really funny.
Clayton Bennett, Oklahoma City Thunder
He's not bad from a "I would never play for that guy" standpoint, but he did rob a city of its franchise.
George Shinn, New Orleans Hornets
Sterling isn't the only one to have been involved in scandal. Shinn also moved the Hornets from Charlotte to New Orleans after refusing to sell the team.
Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves.
Hired Kevin McHale and David Kahn in succession.
James Dolan, New York Knicks
Hired Isiah Thomas, didn't fire him for 5 years.
Paul Allen, Portland Trailblazers
Fired one of the best GMs in the NBA an hour before the 2010 draft, then inexplicably told him to do the draft anyway. Apparently Kevin Pritchard was getting too much credit for doing a good job.
Michael Heisley, Memphis Grizzlies
The Decider forced the Allen Iverson signing and Hasheem Thabeet pick. Says GM Chris Wallace: "We can't do anything that Mike is adamantly opposed to." He also moved the Grizzlies to Memphis, after promising to keep them in Vancouver.
Robert Sarver, Phoenix Suns
Forced Bryan Colangelo out when he insisted Colangelo take a pay cut. Gave the GM position to Mike D'Antoni, who promptly gave bloated contracts to Boris Diaw and Marcus Banks while seemingly distracted with his Team USA duties. Traded Andre Iguodala for cash and a pick (Rajon Rondo), which was traded for cash and a pick (Rudy Fernandez), which was traded for cash. Also sold Nate Robinson and Sergio Rodriguez for cash. Salary dumped Kurt Thomas and two 1st round picks for nothing. Wanted Steve Kerr to take a pay cut, while Kerr wanted raises for the scouts, trainers, tape guys, etc. for helping the Suns overachieve. So Kerr left. See a pattern?
Chris Cohan, Golden State Warriors
He's so bad, a list of his 10 dumbest moves was made to celebrate his (hopeful) sale of the franchise. The guy he hired as GM has his own list of dumb moves. Cohan doesn't like paying people, but loves suing them (to the point where people are afraid to go on record about him). He even once sued the coach he currently won't let go of.