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NBA announces settlement with Sterling Trust allowing Clippers sale to Ballmer. Cancels vote on Donald Sterling.

May 30, 2014, 7:26 PM EDT

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Clippers Game Getty Images

How confident is the NBA that Shelly Sterling has pushed aside her husband Donald Sterling in the family trust and can now sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer?

Enough that they have cancelled the vote scheduled for next week that would have deposed Donald Sterling as an owner.

The NBA announced Friday that it has reached a settlement with the Sterling Trust (through which Donald and Shelly Sterling each own half of the Clippers). Here is the NBA’s official statement.

The NBA, Shelly Sterling and the Sterling Family Trust today resolved their dispute over the ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. Under the agreement, the Clippers will be sold to Steve Ballmer, pending approval by the NBA Board of Governors, and the NBA will withdraw its pending charge to terminate the Sterlings’ ownership of the team.

Because of the binding agreement to sell the team, the NBA termination hearing that had been scheduled for June 3 in New York City has now been cancelled. Mrs. Sterling and the Trust also agreed not to sue the NBA and to indemnify the NBA against lawsuits from others, including from Donald Sterling.

Donald Sterling’s lawyer confirmed an NBC News report he planned to file an antitrust lawsuit against the NBA seeking $1 billion in damages due to his banishment from the league and the league forcing a sale of his team.

The interesting news from the league’s statement is not just that the deal is now official in the eyes of the league (that was expected, the league has been working hand-in-hand with Shelly Sterling through this process), nor is it just that the Board of Governors’ meeting is cancelled and the vote called off.

It is that the league believes by getting indemnity from the Trust — of which Donald Sterling is still a part, albeit one without a vote — it essentially negates Sterling’s lawsuit against the league (and likely future ones).

The indemnity likely means that any money Donald Sterling would win in his lawsuit against the NBA would be paid by the Sterling Trust — essentially Sterling is suing himself, according to sports law writer Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated.

Plus, Donald Sterling is threatening an anti-trust lawsuit based on the forced sale of his team, but the NBA can counter co-owner Shelly Sterling chose to sell the team, this was not a forced sale where the team was taken away from him.

Donald and Shelly Sterling each owned half of the Los Angeles Clippers through the Sterling Family Trust (he was the recognized primary owner by the league). However, following neurological tests in the last month she had him declared mentally incapacitated, making her the sole trustee. Donald Sterling’s lawyers have vehemently denied he is incapacitated, although that is separate from the lawsuit he filed against the NBA.

The incapacitated ruling cleared the path for the sale of the team to Ballmer for $2 billion. The NBA worked with Shelly throughout this process and the fact the league is making this announcement and canceling the vote shows how confident it is in its legal position. Also, for years the NBA has been interested in bringing Ballmer — the former Microsoft CEO worth $20 billion — in as an owner.

All of this ultimately means that by the start of next season this saga could be over — Doc Rivers and the Clippers players could be reporting to the energetic Ballmer.

Something that would be good for everyone. We’d all like to move on from this saga.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - May 30, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    Thank God. I hope the rest of this saga will find its way to the back page of the newspaper, so to speak.

  2. RavenzGunnerz - May 30, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    All racists on in this comment section are flabbergasted…

    face it guys, Adam Silver is clutch.

    They are still reviewing that shot to make sure he got it off in time, but to me it looks good. A Good 1 minute between the time the ball left Silver’s hand, the the light coming on.

    Game Set Match Sterling.

  3. tampajoey - May 30, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    The NBA doesn’t want the owners on record for this. Some owners would have voted to keep Sterling and the NBA didn’t want that drama or bad publicity.

  4. rdrfan - May 30, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Pure BS . All this over what a man said in private. We have been put on notice.

    • jpstyles314 - May 30, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      The only bs is that he got away with public racism for all these years.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 30, 2014 at 10:07 PM

        Bah Sterling has every right to be a racist, and he hasn’t gotten away with it, he’s paid record fines for it.

        Just like his business partners have every right to realize that the bell can’t be un-rung, the toothpaste couldn’t be put back in the tube, that his words will cost everyone millions unless they remove him from their partnership.

        He has the right to be as racist as he wants to be and they have the right to terminate his partnership.

      • jpstyles314 - May 30, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        Why do people try to defend him by bringing up rights? I never said he didn’t have the right to be racist (which sounds retarded), so why are we talking about rights? I guess if he paid about 3% of his net worth over the years people feel like he paid his dues. He messed with the wrong chick (why say racist things to a biracial chick?) and came out 2 billion richer……yeah….He’s the victim….

      • 1historian - May 31, 2014 at 7:01 AM

        And he still has an award from the NAACP.

      • jimeejohnson - May 31, 2014 at 12:04 PM

        The white boy trash award?

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 30, 2014 at 9:40 PM

      You have been put on notice? For what?
      “Businessmen love money and will kick out other businessmen when their profits are threatened?” I’m guessing you’re not a business person, otherwise you would understand others having the right protecting their product.

      You didn’t already know that? Or are you trying at something stupid like Free Speech?

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 30, 2014 at 9:47 PM

      I’d love for a single Sterling supporter to explain to me why his business partners don’t have the right to remove him and protect their profits and product.

      Just riddle me why you types pretend that Sterling’s right to be a racist then means that his partners are stuck with him and can’t protect themselves, their business, their profits.

      Especially when they have Sterling’s name on a document that says they absolutely can attempt to remove him.

      I already know there is no legit answer, idiots the lot of yas.
      Best part…. most of you are wanna-be Republicans, yet you’re against the right of business people protecting themselves.

      Absolutely laughable, the only type of person I can see defending Sterling is some ultra-hippy leftist, but here we are, misguided conservatives doing the job of the ACLU.


  5. jadaruler - May 30, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Agree with tampajoey. Saved a lot of owners for going through what Cuban went through.

  6. unfly - May 30, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    I am so over this Sterling saga. Wake me up when it’s over.

  7. campcouch - May 30, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Best bet is to stop talking to humans. Cats are pretty good at keeping secrets.

    • genericcommenter - May 31, 2014 at 12:43 AM

      Just make sure you avoid rabbits, too.

      • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Random thought.

        Don’t mess with rabbits, they can launch pi$$ your way before you can even react. And they aim for anything in your eye region (swift and deadly, sadly I know all too well about this) with D.C. sniper marksmanship.

  8. lgwelsh1 - May 31, 2014 at 2:01 AM

    Silver did NOT have FULL SUPPORT from the owners. This is more than obvious LOL!

    The only way the NBA was going to make the owners vote public, was if the vote was 100%….

    He didn’t have it, In fact I bet there was more than a few who would have voted to keep Sterling as an owner.

  9. mythaimyke - May 31, 2014 at 2:58 AM

    Sounds to me that Sterling had 2 gold digging whores in his life!

  10. 1historian - May 31, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    There are many things that one could call this silly little story. From the beginning it has been about:

    Freedom of speech – a private conversation recorded and then broadcast to the world resulting in what has to be a lot of money for the recorder

    Political correctness in all its unadorned ugliness

    And finally, what it comes down to is MONEY and image. The vote on Donald Sterling was canceled. Why? Because if the vote was private and even one owner said no it would make the NBA look really bad.

    There are many things one could call this silly sad little story, ‘saga’ is NOT one of them.

    One question – if it’s been known for years that Sterling was a racist, why did the NAACP give him one award a few years ago and – until this blew up in their faces – why were they planning to give him another?

  11. jerdogthompson - May 31, 2014 at 11:04 AM


    Why did DTS get the NAACP awards?

    The primary reason is he had the director of the NAACP on his payroll. After this thing broke that director resigned oddly enough. A way he made it “look” like he was deserving of the award was DTS would give away thousands of seats to primarily African American kids. Here’s the catch, DTS would give only the cheapest seats and then claim inflated prices on those tickets for a tax write off.

    Another publicity scam took the form of a ad DTS ran for months and months in LA Times that promised the public of an upcoming building project meant to benefit minorities. That ad ran for years and the project was never started let alone finished.

    By the way, the NAACP rescinded the award he received and cancelled the other one.

    • jimeejohnson - May 31, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      Historian don’t need your stinkin’ facts. He’s got his own like Fox fake news for the stupid.

      • jpstyles314 - May 31, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Hey, slow your roll. Most people just report the news, Fox makes the news.
        Fox tells the truth even when they lie, most people just don’t know that Fox cares too much to let silly things like facts get in the way of what they need you to know. They are not mainstream, far from it, they just are the #1 News business, I mean group out there in little ole Real America. You know, THAT America.

        All of the above can also be applied to MSNBC.

        But yeah, everything I read and hear about his past makes me really believe that having a lot of money can make any problem go away.
        Hell, you can buy the award, which is what he did. Those awards are for rich people (no, they probably mean something to other rich people, this applies only to Sterling,) to show off whenever he does something that is racist. He can point to the award and say “see I do stuff for the blacks, I have blacks as friends,” or “look what I get for helping blacks, what has he ever done….blah..blah…AIDS…” He then feels like he’s digging himself out of a hole, but in reality, Marianas Trench was on the other side filled with manure.

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