Skip to content

Adam Silver says Clippers sale “almost there,” Game 1 AC failure could have been handled better

Jun 8, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

Adam Silver Adam Silver

SAN ANTONIO — It’s pretty easy for Commissioner Adam Silver to feel good about the state of the NBA — “The state of the game has never been better” — when one of his teams just sold for $2 billion.

That sale, of the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald and Shelly Sterling to Steve Ballmer, dominated Silver’s press conference in San Antonio before Game 2.

“We’re almost there,” Silver said of when this will be resolved. “There is this last piece, and that is the lawsuit that Donald brought against the League and me personally. I have absolute confidence it will be resolved because as part of the sale agreement with Shelly Sterling, she agreed to indemnify the League against a lawsuit by her husband. So in essence, Donald is suing himself and he knows that. While I understand he is frustrated, I think it’s over. I think it’s just a matter of time now.”

Silver said he hopes to have the Board of Governors (the other owners) vote on the sale at their scheduled July meeting and it could happen sooner.

Donald Sterling’s attorney had said he would sign off on the sale and drop his lawsuit, but has not done so yet because he thought the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine would be rescinded.

“There is absolutely no possibility that the lifetime ban will be rescinded or that the fine will be changed in any way,” Silver made clear.

Shelly Sterling will still have a tie to the team through a charity, but Silver said this is not something with the team.

“Yes, she is going to continue to attend games,” Silver said. “There has never been a ban against Shelly Sterling. She can go to any game she wants and always could, even after Donald’s ban…

“Shelly, and I encouraged her to do this, has a right to elect that a portion of the proceeds from the sale be placed directly into a foundation in which she would have control. But in essence that’s her money. It comes from the sale of the team. It will not be a Clippers foundation, it will be a Shelly Sterling foundation or some other name she chooses. And as I said, that is something I encouraged her to do, and I hope she does do.”

• The other big topic of the Silver press conference was the air conditioning malfunction during Game 1. Silver admitted this could have been handled better, but this was an unusual circumstance.

“In hindsight it wasn’t handled perfectly, but they’d never been confronted with that issue before,” Silver said of the building crew in San Antonio. “We in the league office, and not just me as Commissioner, but I’ve been with the league office for more than 22 years now, I’d never dealt with a situation like that before….

“There was never a point where we were considering either postponing or canceling the game.”

Silver gave a timeline to the events, saying the building crew first noticed a warning light on the circuit breaker at 7:55 local time (the game tipped off just after 8 p.m. local time). The AC cut out around tip off and the it wasn’t until just before the half that the building workers realized they could not fix the problem.

• Silver praised the way the way the new CBA had helped the league’s competitive balance. But he was asked a good question (by J.A. Adande of ESPN): Is it really good for the league if the Thunder can’t keep their core together, if the Miami Heat might break up because the assembled team can’t be kept under the cap structure?

“Our goal was not to break up teams,” Silver said. “We had a transition in which the more hasher luxury tax would be implemented. But ultimately, any type of cap system in essence is a form of player sharing. So, yes, to the extent that James Harden leaves Oklahoma City and the Houston Rockets then become a competitive team, that’s a positive thing for the league. And part of the purpose of a cap system is so you don’t see too much talent aggregated in one market.

“On the other hand I don’t want to take anything away from the Spurs and the Heat. While the players are a critical component, the players were attracted and remained in those markets because of the quality of the coaching and the quality of the management, and hats off to these organizations. And my sense is the better managed organizations are going to be successful regardless of the system.”

• Silver was also asked about his push to change the one-and-done rule to two years.

“I sense there is a little bit of movement,” Silver said. “Ron Klempner, who is the executive director of the union said at a sports forum recently that it was something that the union was willing to discuss and certainly an individual, one-on-one conversations I have had with players as I travel around the league, my sense is that they’re willing to discuss it as well. The ongoing issue is that until we have a new executive director of the union, we’re not going to sit down and have any real serious discussions on the topic.”

There likely will not be on that or HGH testing until a new union executive director is chosen (that is expected to happen this fall, Kevin Johnson is leading the effort).

  1. cantonbound13 - Jun 8, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    Good news baby Bron Bron, no HGH testing.

    • rawgator06 - Jun 8, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      did you enjoy witnessing tonight?

  2. qball59 - Jun 8, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    All along, people have said that Sterling’s removal was about money; i.e. the league was losing sponsors and money as long as he owned the Clippers. Fair enough.

    Well, here Sterling’s ready and willing to sign off on the sale of the Clippers, which he vowed to fight at first, and yet Adam Silver wants to keep a ban in place which won’t even let Sterling attend the occasional game, like any normal fan, for the rest of his life.

    So tell me: who’s holding up the sale? Is it Donald Sterling, a senile old man who made some stupid, regressive comments in a private conversation, and who’s agreed to sell the Clippers in order to resolve the financial problems his comments had made for his soon-to-be former business partners? Or is it Adam Silver, who’s being a petty, vindictive a**hole in his unabashed zeal to offer Donald Sterling as his burnt offering to the gods of Political Correctness?

    • weaselpuppy - Jun 8, 2014 at 11:24 PM

      Having an owner punished for saying in any venue that he doesn’t want an entire race of (any)people at a game isn’t punishing political incorrectness, it’s punishing bad business/brand damaging behavior.

      • qball59 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:03 AM

        The solution for bad business/brand damaging behavior was pressuring Sterling to sell the Clippers, which he has now agreed, in principle, to do.

        Regardless of how badly he ran the Clippers as a younger man, Donald Sterling is now just an old coot suffering from dementia who put his foot in his mouth in a private conversation.

        If the pastor of a predominantly black church in south central L.A. can publicly forgive the man, why can’t tough guy Adam Silver (as well as the writers for this blog…) do the same?

        The lifetime ban, at this point, is just excessive, vindictive self-righteous crap.

      • sportsfan18 - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:11 AM


        first, I firmly agree that Sterling HAD to go…

        BUT, what you said is not what he did or was about.

        he wanted blacks there, spending money, buying tickets, concessions etc…

        he simply told his GF, not an employee of the organization, to not bring blacks to the game with her.

        there IS a difference between not wanting your GF to bring a black and for blacks to attend without her.

        i mean he hired and kept a black G.M. for 22 years…

        he hired Doc as his coach and gave him more responsibilities than just coaching… like Pop has in San Antonio… but he paid Doc $7 million this past season to Pop’s $6 million.

        Now, Doc IS a good coach, but Pop has MORE championships and is generally considered the best in the game..

        my point is that while Sterling was/is a racist, he does NOT let that prevent him from hiring and placing a black man in high up positions in his organization.

        how many other teams have had both a black G.M. and a black head coach in their time?

        so, Sterling did want blacks at his game, buying tickets, paying for things… and he’d hire them in important positions too, he wasn’t the kind that didn’t want them around at all like you said, wanted a whole race to not be there.

        he just wanted his GF to not bring a black with HER to the game.

        Again, I WANTED him out of the game. he IS a racist.

        but you can’t say he didn’t want an entire race of people at a game because that isn’t true…

      • duhwighthoward - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

        sportsfan makes a good point. the clippers have probably had as many black coaches as any team in the league. Dennis Johnson, Alvin Gentry, Doc Rivers Plus Elgin Baylor as GM – he was probably the longest tenured GM of any in the league.

  3. elcaminobilly - Jun 8, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    I really like Adam Silver. While I don’t agree with the age rule he’s pushing for, he’s handled everything else much, much better than I expected. I never liked David Stern, but I like Silver, and I hope he keeps at it as he’s been doing so far- namely, everything right.

    • duhwighthoward - Jun 9, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      hey numbnuts, Silver was Stern’s right hand mand forever.

      Perhaps you can expound upon what it is you didn’t like about Stern and what you like about Silver.

      You’re probably one of those people who loved Bush and hated Obama or vice versa.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2372)
  2. K. Irving (2098)
  3. A. Davis (1832)
  4. K. Bryant (1465)
  5. L. James (1450)
  1. A. Aminu (1363)
  2. K. Durant (1329)
  3. M. Leonard (1328)
  4. T. Thompson (1234)
  5. E. Mudiay (1174)