Skip to content

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

May 30, 2014, 7:26 PM EST

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Mavericks, Heat in long line of teams interested in JaVale McGee

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:50 PM EST

    JaVale McGee JaVale McGee

    The list for him is much longer than just two teams. Much longer.

  2. Nuggets need to decide direction, then hire coach

    Mar 3, 2015, 5:08 PM EST

    Kenneth Faried, Brian Shaw AP

    What kind of team are they trying to build.

  3. Kyrie Irving a gametime decision for Cavaliers vs. Celtics

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:55 PM EST

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Irving has missed two straight games with a shoulder strain.

  4. Pacers’ David West on Nuggets firing Brian Shaw: ‘That’s bullsh-t. No grownups on the roster.’

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:10 PM EST

    Indiana Pacers v New Orleans Pelicans Getty Images

    Shaw was an assistant coach in Indiana before landing the head coaching spot in Denver.

  5. Nuggets have fired head coach Brian Shaw

    Mar 3, 2015, 12:38 PM EST

    Brian Shaw AP

    Nuggets are 20-39 this season.

  6. Matt Barnes says if he was the one who kicked LeBron, league would have tried to put him in jail

    Mar 3, 2015, 12:30 PM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Barnes isn’t wrong that the punishment for him doing something like this would have been much more severe.

  7. J.J. Redick ejected for complaining to officials, says Flip Saunders told him to ‘shut the f— up’

    Mar 3, 2015, 11:50 AM EST

    J.J. Redick, Scott Twardoski J.J. Redick, Scott Twardoski

    Clippers have a reputation with the referees, which likely was why Redick was tossed for seemingly innocuous comments.

  8. Kevin Garnett gets into it with Austin Rivers, double technicals issued (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    Kevin Garnett, Bennett Salvatore AP

    KG played for Doc Rivers on the Celtics’ 2008 title team, but wasn’t willing to take any grief from his son.

  9. This is one serious basketball brawl from Spanish league (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EST

    Anadolu Efes Istanbul v Laboral Kutxa Vitoria - Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 Getty Images

    That had 10 times the punches of an NBA “fight.”

  10. Chris Paul, Ricky Rubio had fun point guard battle Monday (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul Ricky Rubio, Chris Paul

    Ricky Rubio got the triple-double, CP3 will take the win.

  11. Five Things We Learned in NBA Monday: Goran Dragic got his revenge in concentrated form

    Mar 3, 2015, 2:55 AM EST

    Goran Dragic Goran Dragic

    Goran Dragic would have sat out with back pain against anyone else, but he dropped 21 on the Suns.

  12. Zach LaVine was dunking all over the Clippers (VIDEO)

    Mar 3, 2015, 1:14 AM EST

    Los Angeles Clippers v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    Zach LaVine can get up. But you already knew that.

  13. Report: Blake Griffin “likely” to return sometime next week

    Mar 2, 2015, 11:15 PM EST

    Blake Griffin Blake Griffin

    Griffin has missed the Clippers’ last 10 games.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (8605)
  2. R. Westbrook (7889)
  3. K. Durant (7855)
  4. D. Howard (6958)
  5. A. Davis (6667)
  1. D. Cousins (6587)
  2. L. James (6426)
  3. P. George (6246)
  4. J. Harden (6011)
  5. K. Irving (5782)