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Report: NBA won’t approve Shelly Sterling as controlling owner of the Clippers

May 23, 2014, 3:44 PM EDT

Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling Donald Sterling, Rochelle Sterling

The reports that emerged on Friday which stated that Donald Sterling has agreed to allow his wife Shelly to negotiate a forced sale of the Clippers may have seemed like good news for the league, at least on the surface.

What remains to be seen is if the league will allow the Sterlings to do so, because keeping them in charge any longer than they have to be is bad for the league.

For example, there is concerns the handshake agreement between the couple was possibly made by Sterling with the potential for future litigation in mind.

That’s just one of a multitude of reasons that the NBA is unlikely to let the sale of the Clippers unfold in this way, certainly not with Shelly Sterling acting as the official controlling owner — something that would require an approval that the league isn’t at all interested in giving.

From Michael McCann of

Donald Sterling is the controlling owner of the Clippers, while Shelly Sterling is a non-controlling owner. Importantly, and as explained fully here, the NBA must approve a change in designation from a non-controlling to a controlling owner.

Sources familiar with the NBA have told the league will not approve Shelly Sterling as controlling-owner. The league does not want the Sterlings involved with the NBA. The league also has wide discretion to reject new owners, including for reasons of moral character. Shelly Sterling’s ties to her husband in the housing lawsuits could be grounds alone for the NBA to reject her as controlling owner (the fact that Donald Sterling was not disciplined over the housing litigation does not preclude the league from using the litigation against Shelly).

By allowing Shelly Sterling to negotiate the sale of the team as a controlling owner, the league would open itself up to a whole host of issues, the most important of which would be a loss of control over the timetable for ousting the Sterlings as owners.

The NBA released a statement saying that this recent development would not deter it from continuing the process to terminate Sterling’s ownership, with the next major step set to take place when a hearing is convened on June 3. If the league were to allow Shelly Sterling to oversee and negotiate the sale of the team, that’s something that could drag on for several months — long enough for the players to feel that with the Sterlings still in the picture, a boycott may be worth reconsidering.

It’s worth remembering that any decision made by Sterling at this stage of the proceedings is done with potential future litigation in mind, which could include an anti-trust lawsuit should the league choose a future ownership group of the Clippers that doesn’t necessarily make the highest bid for the team.

But that’s just one reason the NBA isn’t going to go along with this. The main one is that the league wants to continue on its path to rid itself of the Sterlings as quickly as possible.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - May 23, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    I almost want this to go through the whole legal process, just to see Sterling get smacked around at every turn.

  2. duhwighthoward - May 23, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    Jerdog, where are you? Did you predict this too?

  3. zackd2 - May 23, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    So Sterling would have to transfer it to a non-family member to negotiate the sale?

    Only one man for the job.
    Magic Johnson.

  4. ncarolinarn7 - May 23, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    I hope the NBA folds up. Something better to take it’s place. To much monopoly power. The man spoke in his own house in a private conversation. I don’t care what he said. I don’t agree with it but I do believe he has the right to say in his own home with fear or loss or persecution what he pleases. It called freedom of speech. If you don’t want to support the clippers so be it. The stupidity and self righteousness of our culture is maddening.

    • limonadamas - May 23, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Wow… do you still not get it, or are you being willfully ignorant? This has nothing to do with free speech. No one’s arresting Sterling for this. This is about business. The Sterling’s are bad business now for the NBA.

    • jimeejohnson - May 23, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      It’s more like the stupidity and self righteousness of the racist scumbags that is maddening but when you realize a racist is just an ignorant loser you pity him or her like you would pity someone with cancer.

  5. thraiderskin - May 23, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    If this route helps in securing the sale of the team then WTF?

    • dablakdrphil - May 23, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      The NBA wants to get rid of EVERYTHING Sterling related AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, which means she could hold up the sell of the team for months which the NBA is not interested in. So I completely understand why they would turn her away, the NBA has made it perfectly clear to everyone they want the Sterlings gone

  6. mrlaloosh - May 23, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    The NBA is now crawfishing. That means they’re backpedalling to cover their total indifference in Sterlings past behavior. Silver was in the league office for 30 years so he knows how foul of a human being he is. Now that taped conversations have come out the NBA want to get all indignant and force the Sterling sale. Hyprocrites.

  7. themagicfanguy - May 23, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    There’s always the one guy who has to preach freedom of speech even though that has nothing to do with this at all. He’s not getting arrested and charged doofus, he’s being outed by business partners.

  8. granadafan - May 23, 2014 at 6:19 PM

    Good. Donald Sterling is less trustworthy than the combined sliminess of politicians and ambulance-chasing lawyers.

    • therealhtj - May 23, 2014 at 6:26 PM

      Yup. It’s just a ploy. All of a sudden you give Shelly controlling interest. Then they tell the league to kick rocks.

  9. ncarolinarn7 - May 23, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    If you are in your OWN HOME talking to a PAID MISTRESS who is attempting to EXTORT MONEY FROM YOU and she records PRIVATE COMMENTS in your PRIVATE HOME from someone who is extorting you I ought to be able to say what I please and be free from even the most remote idea of political, legal, business, or whatever retribution. I am amazed how brain washed you people are. You can’t steal property from someone who bought it and owns it outright just because someone says something you don’t like. In my opinion the retaliation is WORSE. It’s stealing because voiced and opinion. What happened to sticks and stones but words will never hurt me??? To thin skinned. Don’t buy the product or the tickets. It belongs to Sterling. Put him out of business but don’t steal from him he was in his own home being manipulated by a paid mistress. It’s all bull. Be a big boy but don’t steal. It’s just words.

    • revskip - May 24, 2014 at 1:11 AM

      Pretty sure the league isn’t “stealing” anything from Sterling. Quite the opposite, he stands to make a killing when the sale is finalized with most estimates looking at a billion dollars. Even after the hefty taxes he stands to make over 600 million dollars on the sale.

      If you don’t want things like this to happen it is pretty simple, don’t say and do things that can ruin your business if they see the light of day and don’t have mistresses with questionable integrity.

      • atahualpaoxford - May 24, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        You saying that the league is not stealing from Sterling because he’s going to make a lot of money anyway, is plain and simply stupid.
        Say that you own your house, bought it for $ 50.000 years ago…now the house is worth 300.000…but the bank that holds the mortgage gives you, for whatever reason, 1 week to sale it or they will take it…and this information is out in the open and available to everybody…
        Do you think that there will be a bidding war from potential buyers..??? or are they going to low ball you because they know you HAVE to sell…???
        Now…you sell for 200.000…you’re making a nice profit…did the bank steal from you..??
        YES…because if you had been able to sell it whenever you wanted, at the right time, and being able to accept any bid matching the asking price or close to it, you would have made a lot more money.
        Same here..!!!

  10. ncarolinarn7 - May 23, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Everyone at some time in their life have said hateful things or things they didn’t necessarily mean. Get over it really. That’s the self righteous part of it. I bet your wife would say you have.

  11. jerdogthompson - May 24, 2014 at 12:57 PM


    Well I’m a not a mind reader so no didn’t predict this one. I will say this though, the Sterlings may in fact see this as a potential loophole and allow them to retain ownership. However, currently the league is working on charges against Shelly for conspiring to destroy evidence and witness tampering related to this whole fiasco. So bottom line is the league under no circumstance allow Shelly to be in the picture going forward.

    I don’t really see this as anything more than an admission by Donald that he’s basically screwed and doesn’t stand a chance. Their legal team I’m certain has explained they can’t retain ownership by doing this but that’s speculation on my part. We will wait until the vote on 6/3 and see where it goes. I feel confident new owners will be in place come September or earlier.


  12. Robert - May 24, 2014 at 5:47 PM

    Sell to Bert and Ernie.

  13. jerdogthompson - May 24, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    Have you no shame trolls? How many names can you come up with seriously?

    Keep trolling baby, it’s great humor.


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