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With Steve Ballmer, hopefully we can all move on from Sterlings

May 30, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Clippers Game Getty Images

On the night of a fascinating Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, much of the NBA’s twitterverse was wrapped up in talking about the latest developments in the “As the Sterlings Turn” soap opera.

It has been that way all playoffs — Donald and Shelly Sterling with their personal and public drama casting a cold, dark shadow over one of the best playoffs in memory.

The latest twist in the saga is that Shelly Sterling had her husband and long-time Clippers primary owner Donald Sterling declared mentally incapacitated, which under the terms of the trust the couple owns the Clippers through makes her the lone trustee. In that capacity she has reached a deal to sell the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, as confirmed by NBC. The deal has been forwarded on to the league for approval, which may postpone the planned vote by the owners to oust Sterling as an owner.

You’d be foolish to think Donald Sterling is not going to fight all of it — the declaration of incapacity and the sale of his team — dragging this sordid affair out.

That’s likely his next step, Donald Sterling trying to get an injunction to stop the sale of the team while he fights the incapacitated ruling pushed by his wife. If Donald wins that then he will take to the courts to fight the league on the forced sale of the Clippers. Ultimately Sterling will lose — either his wife will win and sell the team, or the NBA will vote to revoke his franchise and when Sterling sues to block that he will find out he has no legal legs to stand on (he has signed multiple documents over the years giving the NBA owners the right to do what they are doing).

The question is not how it ends, but how ugly and long the road is to get there.

What Steve Ballmer and his agreement to buy the team brings hope.

Hope that this might all come to an end quickly and cleanly and we can all move on.

Hope for Clippers fans that suffered through three decades of Sterling being the worst owner in professional sports, barely spending on his team. Even as things had turned in recent years his past, his erratic behavior was like the Sword of Damocles hanging over the franchise and the good people who worked for the Clippers. Those people lived with never knowing when the owners odd, racist behaviors might strike.

Hope for the Clippers players that a new owner would build upon the changes the franchise has seen in recent years (trading for Chris Paul, spending on Doc Rivers). This was one of the four best teams in the NBA this season, a team on the cusp of winning it all, the right ownership could sustain and build that.

Hope for the league that its worst and most embarrassing owner would be replaced by a guy with the potential (and pocketbook) to be a great owner. At least Pete Carroll thinks so.

Yes, it is disgusting that a bigot like Donald Sterling is about to make a healthy $1.87 billion profit off this sale (he bought the team for just $13 million 33 years ago). Our sense of justice doesn’t like to see the immoral rewarded, even through we know it happens all the time all over the world (and has throughout history).

But this sale is finally hope for all NBA fans that this ugly saga is behind us and we can start talking just about basketball again.

We’d all like to move on.

  1. katra2logic - May 30, 2014 at 2:35 AM

    Wow, that was fast!

  2. saint1997 - May 30, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    Could be a great new chapter – reinvigorate and reinvent the clips as a franchise given recent success

    • asimonetti88 - May 30, 2014 at 11:54 AM

      Maybe he can give all Clippers players free Zunes.

  3. 00maltliquor - May 30, 2014 at 3:32 AM

    I’m really gonna miss Sterling. Almost as much as I miss David Stern.

  4. rdrfan - May 30, 2014 at 5:09 AM

    Happened so fast. Makes you kinda wonder.

    • jcmeyer10 - May 30, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      It’s like on Craigslist. “Cash is King”.

  5. campcouch - May 30, 2014 at 5:11 AM

    what is Pete Carroll talking about?

  6. davidly - May 30, 2014 at 5:13 AM

    We are perfectly free to talk about just basketball whenever we want. That was a great game last night. I look forward to another tonight.

  7. mungman69 - May 30, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    2 Billion for an NBA team? The Clippers are estimated to be worth ONE (1) billion. This sale makes no sense.

    • ranfan12 - May 30, 2014 at 6:41 AM

      That’s the purpose of bidding. A $30 painting can get sold for $1000 if multiple people become seriously interested in it. Raises the value.

    • therealhtj - May 30, 2014 at 7:33 AM

      If a Downtrodden Shanty in Milwaukee is worth 550 million, a freshly constructed property in LA should be worth 2 Billion.

    • beagle11 - May 30, 2014 at 11:55 AM

      Any item is worth what someone is willing to pay for it, not what someone estimates it to be.

  8. sportfan2 - May 30, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    A team that has to share an arena sells for 2 b.?

  9. johnheisman - May 30, 2014 at 7:05 AM

    Under Donald Sterling the Clippers were the worst run team in professional sports. I think the new owner needs to change the name to erase the Sterlings legacy. I am thinking of a name that will help provide confidence in the new owner’s abilities to run the team. My choice in the Los Angeles Blue Screens.

    • 1historian - May 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM

      I’ll take “The Los Angeles Redskins”

  10. thatsjustchipper - May 30, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    If Sterling doesn’t make those comments, the Clippers aren’t the “cool” team to own for billionaires anymore, hence less bids, and thus a far lesser sale price. V. Stiv’s audio release probably made these two an extra $500-800 million dollars.

  11. florida727 - May 30, 2014 at 7:26 AM

    If I’m the NBA, I shut down the franchise making it worthless, then “award” Balmer a franchise in “the city of his choosing” (wink, wink). This idiot and his wife are going to financially make the proverbial killing, for what, making racist comments? He couldn’t have planned it any better if he tried. Where’s the penalty for his transgressions? It’s like he’s being rewarded for being a moron. Again, two BILLION dollars. Wow.

    • ranfan12 - May 30, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      You act as if the NBA wasn’t aware of this the moment they announced that he would be forced to sale the team. They don’t care about his benefits, they care about their own. As long as he’s not with the NBA, that’s all that matters. Besides, if they forced the clippers to be sold purposely for less money, there could’ve been a lawsuit over that, which does them no good and wastes everyone’s time

  12. timberwolvesbrisin - May 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I think you the media are in no position to tell us it is time to move on. Considering your responsible for blowing it up in the first place.

    • timberwolvesbrisin - May 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM


  13. samsjmail - May 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Awesome. After he buys the team, it will occasionally freeze mid-court for no reason and they’ll have to start the game over.

  14. spursareold - May 30, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    “Yes, it is disgusting that a bigot like Donald Sterling is about to make a healthy $1.87 billion profit off this sale (he bought the team for just $13 million 33 years ago)”

    Actually, $2B – $13M = $1.987B in profit, not $1.87B

    • redbaronx - May 30, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      @spursareold – Actually….

      2B – Capital Gains tax (333 Million dollars) – 13 Million = 1.654 Billion profit, not 1.987B

    • qball59 - May 31, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      “Yes, it is disgusting that a bigot like Donald Sterling is about to make a healthy $1.87 billion profit off this sale”

      Actually, if forced to choose between a bigot, whose narrow-minded prejudices really only affect himself and possibly the people with whom he personally interacts, and a vicious Politically Correct magpie, who tries to shove his narrow-minded prejudices down the throats of every single person on the planet, I’ll take the bigot. Every. Single. Time.

  15. jerdogthompson - May 30, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    I’m a little disappointed that all the Laker et al trolls are not claiming the team will be moved, guess why…….THEY WONT because the league wont allow it period.

    This should be fun, with a looming 3 plus billion TV contract and an owner that has a new “toy” we should see the purse strings opened like no other time in NBA history. Good time to be a Clipper, finally, finally…………….


    • asimonetti88 - May 30, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      They won’t get more than 3 billion for a TV contract. That would be more than the Lakers OR the Dodgers. There isn’t the viewership to justify it.

  16. jollyjoker2 - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    must be nice to have 2 billion laying around …and magic J or ophrah didn’t get the team …what will the left do!!!

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