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. Mason Plumlee rapping? Yes, Mason Plumlee rapping. (VIDEO)

    Jul 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    Mason Plumlee with a money gun shooting $100s.

  2. James Ennis allows Heat to push back decision on him until opening night

    Jul 28, 2015, 12:40 AM EDT

    Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers Getty Images

    Ennis will get the chance to prove his case in training camp.

  3. Gregg Popovich missed games last November due to heart procedure

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich

    Larry Brown said the condition had Popovich thinking about retirement.

  4. Larry Bird says Stephen Curry, himself in mix for best deep shooter ever

    Jul 27, 2015, 6:59 PM EDT

    Larry Bird Larry Bird

    Bird also says Jordan would destroy him one-on-one right now.

  5. Report: Heat will pick up contract of Tyler Johnson, as expected

    Jul 27, 2015, 6:32 PM EDT

    Tyler Johnson AP

    James Ennis seems on the bubble with Miami.

  6. Roy Hibbert pleased to have a coach who played in NBA (psst: it’s Byron Scott)

    Jul 27, 2015, 4:05 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game Four Getty Images

    Center goes from Frank Vogel to Byron Scott and is happy about it

  7. Will Bucks arena deal pass Wisconsin Assembly?

    Jul 27, 2015, 3:08 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks New Court Getty Images

    Key Democrat implies it’s not a certainty

  8. Report: Kings trying to hire Bobby Jackson, too

    Jul 27, 2015, 2:19 PM EDT

    Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Vlade Divac is trying to put the band back together

  9. Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Six Getty Images

    Did he accept the qualifying offer?

  10. Pacers sign Shayne Whittington, guarantee his salary for this season

    Jul 27, 2015, 12:11 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Orlando Magic White Getty Images

    Indiana apparently liked what is saw from undrafted free agent last season

  11. Heat trade Zoran Dragic, second-rounder to Celtics

    Jul 27, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT

    Zoran Dragic, Stanley Johnson, Jared Berggren AP

    Protected second-round pick going back to Celtics

  12. Report: LeBron James OKs Mike Miller trade

    Jul 27, 2015, 10:12 AM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Three Getty Images

    Miller reportedly wanted to leave Cavaliers for a team that would play him more

  13. Reports: Knicks signing Darion Atkins, Wesley Saunders

    Jul 27, 2015, 9:32 AM EDT

    Michigan State v Virginia Getty Images

    Both players to receive partially guaranteed contracts

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (3181)
  2. S. Curry (2951)
  3. K. Durant (2305)
  4. J. Fredette (2268)
  5. T. Hansbrough (2166)
  1. B. Haywood (2166)
  2. L. James (2144)
  3. I. Thomas (2067)
  4. C. Copeland (1974)
  5. P. Prigioni (1883)