Apr 29, 2014, 4:57 AM EDT
NBA commissioner Adam Silver will step to a podium in Manhattan Tuesday to clean up a mess that David Stern and the NBA owners should have dealt with years ago — when there were more actionable items, more egregious actions that should have brought sanctions and pressure on Donald Sterling to sell, rather than having the situation swept under the rug and ignored.
It falls on Silver to deal with racist comments allegedly made by Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
But what might Silver do? What will he say when he steps to that podium?
The best guess of most around the league is an indefinite suspension — Sterling can’t be involved with running the team nor may he attend their games or be around the team and franchise — as well as a fine of $1 million (or $2.5 million, depending on what part of the NBA’s constitution you are reading). Honestly the suspension part, keeping Sterling away from basking in the celebrity of owning a team, will be a bigger blow to him than the money.
What most people want — and that group seems to now include the other owners as well as people in the league office — is to get Sterling out. To get him to sell.
But can the league sell a team out from under an owner against his will? ESPN’s legal analyst Lester Munson is one of the few non-owners to have seen the NBA constitution, and he says yes.
Under the terms of Paragraph 13 of the constitution, the owners can terminate another owner’s franchise with a vote of three-fourths of the NBA Board of Governors, which is composed of all 30 owners. The power to terminate is limited to things like gambling and fraud in the application for ownership, but it also includes a provision for termination when an owner “fails to fulfill” a “contractual obligation” in “such a way as to affect the [NBA] or its members adversely.” Silver and the owners could assert that Sterling’s statements violated the constitution’s requirements to conduct business on a “reasonable” and “ethical” level.
What you can be sure of is that Sterling’s lawyers would assert this situation — where he will not be charged with a crime, this is a private matter — does not meet the standard of failing to fulfill a contract. Sterling is litigious and someone that does not sell or give up his properties — don’t expect him to be embarrassed or think of the good of the game. This is a guy who has had multiple former coaches have to sue him to get all the money they were owed in their contract. He likes a good fight, even if he knows he is in the wrong.
Munson says that Sterling could try to sue but likely will not have luck because of how the constitution is worded.
Nonetheless, Silver would prefer to not to have a long, public, messy court battle. Which is why the idea of a suspension and fine, giving the league time to try and pressure Sterling into deciding to sell is the most logical.
We will see if a fine and a suspension is enough for the players, enough to turn the focus for the league back on the court and away from the circus surrounding one owner.
Oct 20, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT
Well, there are worse things on television.
Oct 20, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT
Steve Koonin promoting Hawks’ season opener, which includes T.I. performances
Oct 20, 2014, 4:07 PM EDT
The real question is who will be the better team by late May.
Oct 20, 2014, 3:33 PM EDT
When Stephenson brought his game to Charlotte this season, he clearly brought the flopping with him.
Oct 20, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
How will Indiana score?
Oct 20, 2014, 2:18 PM EDT
Anonymous executives, agents slam Kobe in ESPN article
Oct 20, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
Detroit also cuts Brian Cook, Josh Bostic and Lorenzo Brown
Oct 20, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT
I’m unconvinced one had much to do with the other
Oct 20, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT
Door even more open for Ronnie Price and Wayne Ellington to make roster
Oct 20, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
How did LeBron get Kevin Love, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller and James Jones to join the Cavaliers?
Oct 20, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Smart money should go on LeBron James, but there will be serious challengers.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
If they can stay a step ahead of father time the Spurs are the bar to clear to win an NBA title.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
Rockets lost a lot of their key role players
Oct 20, 2014, 9:09 AM EDT
To beat the shot clock!
Oct 20, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT
Wesley Johnson is at his best in transition.
Oct 20, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Anthony Bennett, Otto Porter, Alex Len, Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J. McCollum among those looking to bounce back after underwhelming rookie years
Oct 20, 2014, 12:26 AM EDT
Kobe Bryant reaches, Alec Burks teaches.
Oct 19, 2014, 11:37 PM EDT
Taj Gibson knows how to finish.
Oct 19, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Tom Thibodeau is not the yoga type.
Oct 19, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will take the floor together for the first time since the preseason opener.
- LeBron James: “(The Bulls) are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry” 18
- Has Kobe Bryant cost the Lakers Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and others? 25
- Five favorites to win NBA 2014-15 MVP 12
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 preview: San Antonio Spurs 4
- NBA’s 44-minute game clocks in at under 2 hours, players barely notice (VIDEO) 1
- Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’ 10
- Spurs’ Gregg Popovich fires back at Suns owner’s apology: ‘I’m just surprised he didn’t do it in a chicken suit’ 7
- Blake Griffin goes after Trevor Booker following flagrant foul, says he may retaliate in the future (VIDEO) 31