Skip to content

NBA: If owners’ vote removes Donald Sterling’s ownership of Clippers, Shelly Sterling also loses hers

May 11, 2014, 11:53 PM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four Memphis Grizzlies v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four

UPDATE  11:53 pm: As you would expect (and as hinted at below), Shelly Sterling’s attorneys do not see things the same way as the NBA. Shocking.

Shelly’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, released this statement in response, via the Los Angeles Times.

“We do not agree with the league’s self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances,” he said. “We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation.”

The NBA would say “you joined a select club and signed into the laws of our business when you did, and those laws say we can vote you out of the club if you’re bad for business.

In America we adjudicate our differences through an adversarial system — and the Sterlings love to be adversarial. They have their ego wrapped up in owning this team, they have financial incentive to drag this out, and they have the money to pay an army of lawyers to fight this. So they will. (They say they are doing it separately, you can believe that if you want, I think this is more coordinated than that.)

I’m not an attorney so I’m not going to try to interpret what the NBA constitution says here — get three lawyers to read the document and you’ll get six opinions on it. The bottom line is it’s not that cut and dried and the courts are going to have to sort this out. Your tax dollars at work!

—Kurt Helin

9:55 pm: Shelly Sterling wants to own the Clippers, and she’ll fight to keep the team if the NBA owners vote to remove Donald Sterling as an owner.

The NBA isn’t having that.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass in a statement:

Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well.  It doesn’t matter whether the owners are related as is the case here.  These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team.

I am not privy to the agreement the Sterlings – or just Donald – signed, but if it’s as clearly worded as the NBA indicates, this sounds like case closed.

But the league has incentive to strong-play its hand. The players want Shelly out, and the other owners probably do too.

The agreement could be more ambiguous than the league is saying. Remember, this is just one interpretation of the agreement. Shelly Sterling’s lawyer – depending on the word – could have another.

Latest Posts
  1. Kobe Bryant may join ownership group attempting to purchase Italian soccer team

    Sep 20, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Kobe Bryant Kobe Bryant

    With two years left in the NBA, Bryant has an eye on life after basketball.

  2. Taj Gibson says he’s fine coming off the bench for Bulls: ‘Please miss me with the drama’

    Sep 20, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Taj Gibson Taj Gibson

    A previous report said Gibson was less than thrilled with remaining a reserve.

  3. Andray Blatche signs deal to play in China next season

    Sep 20, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets Getty Images

    Blatche can play, but the NBA offers simply weren’t there.

  4. Giant LeBron James banner approved to hang in downtown Cleveland once again

    Sep 20, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    lebron-banner

    10-story-high banner will return after a similar one was taken down when James left in 2010.

  5. Report: Ramon Sessions signs 2-year deal with Kings

    Sep 20, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

    Ramon Sessions AP

    Sessions could start at point guard for Sacramento.

  6. Report: Former NBA player Rex Chapman arrested for stealing product from Apple store

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT

    Rex Chapman, Ashley Judd Rex Chapman, Ashley Judd

    Chapman played four years for the Suns, and is facing charges in Scottsdale, AZ.

  7. Andrew Bogut is feeling healthy, takes charges on D at Warriors scrimmage

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Andrew Bogut AP

    Must-read quote from Bogut on how he does NOT want to be perceived.

  8. All PBT’s NBA team previews in one convenient spot

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:59 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7 Getty Images

    This post is here to make life easier for you when you want to find these at the end of the season and point out how wrong we were.

  9. UPDATED Report: Timberwolves make push for Eric Bledsoe, Suns not interested in sign-and-trade talks

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    It has to be a sign and trade and Minnesota doesn’t have a lot of leverage here.

  10. Jeff Green says he wants to be leader on Celtics this season

    Sep 19, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Jeff Green AP

    “It was more just becoming a better all-around player, trying to take the next step and become a leader on this team and will my team to win.” —Jeff Green

  11. James Dolan enlists Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire to break world kazoo record

    Sep 19, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT

    dolan stoudemire anthony kazoo

    And you wonder why Phil Jackson is worth $12 million a year to the Knicks organization.

  12. Hawks’ Budenholzer adjusting to coach/GM role, had mentor for many years in Popovich

    Sep 19, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Mike Budenholzer

    Budenholzer got thrust into a position with the power a lot of coaches covet.

Featured video

What players stood out at World Cup?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2707)
  2. L. James (2699)
  3. R. Rondo (2628)
  4. K. Bryant (2414)
  5. K. Irving (2298)
  1. E. Bledsoe (2255)
  2. R. Allen (1858)
  3. J. Valanciunas (1702)
  4. D. Favors (1687)
  5. K. Durant (1664)