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Report: Donald Sterling thought the NBA would rescind his ban and fine, hasn’t signed off on Clippers sale

Jun 6, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

Donald Sterling Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling was building a little good will – the smallest amount, but still – by agreeing to sell the Clippers and drop his lawsuit.

He just can’t stay out of his way.

James Rainey and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angels Times:

Donald Sterling still hasn’t signed off on the official sale of the Clippers because he hopes the NBA will rescind a $2.5-million fine and lifetime ban from all league activities, according to people familiar with the situation.

Sterling recently saw a draft of a statement from the league which he thought absolved him of the penalties, but a person familiar with the NBA’s position said the statement, which was not released to the public, offered no such relief.

The NBA can’t rescind Sterling’s fine and ban. It would be too damaging.

The league must allow Sterling to accept his money for selling the team, but that’s the extent of the leniency Adam Silver can provide. Anything else would be viewed as too forgiving. Sterling is toxic, and giving him any more favor than the legal system requires would taint the NBA by association.

It. Just. Can’t. Happen.

That doesn’t mean Sterling understands that. For someone who will make $1 billion from the sale – presumably, Shelly will get half of the $2 billion sale – Donald sure seems considering about $2.5 million.

Of course, it’s probably not about the money. If it were, Steve Ballmer could easily kick in an extra $2.5 million if it guaranteed ending this saga (not that he should have to).

I don’t know what Sterling hopes to achieve by delaying signing. If he wants to redeem his name, the NBA rescinding the fine and ban will not accomplish that.

Only Sterling leaving the spotlight and letting the outrage dissipate will help him now.

Unless Sterling had a change of heart and wants to fight this outcome in court – which is his prerogative – he’s just making everything worse for himself. Accepting a quick sale curried favor for Sterling only if he agreed to the sale quickly.

Delaying ruins that.

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