Skip to content

Hearing that determines Sterling Trust control, Clippers’ sale gets underway. Donald Sterling isn’t there.

Jul 7, 2014, 8:50 PM EDT

Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

The legal question at hand is pretty simple: Did Shelly Sterling and her doctors follow the Sterling Family Trust rules in having Donald Sterling declared mentally incapacitated, leaving her the lone trustee.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple when Donald Sterling is involved.

First, the implications are bigger than that question because as the sole trustee Shelly Sterling set up a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers — owned by the trust — to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Donald Sterling and his attorney say the trust’s rules were not followed and the mental tests are invalid — that the doctor had drinks with everyone in a bar after the test — meaning he should be re-instated as a trustee, which therefor would block the sale of the team.

The NBA backs that sale after having fined Donald Sterling and banned him for life following the leaked audio tape of bigoted remarks.

Because of all that is on the line Donald Sterling’s lawyers spent the first half of Monday trying to get the case kicked out of California Probate Court and up to a federal court. While that is not uncommon, in this case the federal court shot down that request, so in the afternoon it was back to probate and opening statements.

Well, once they found Donald Sterling’s lawyer, who went missing for a while. Because of course he did. Donald Sterling himself was not there, so everything just started without him.

Three trusted reporters on this case — Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi of ESPN as well as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register — were in the courtroom for the start of the trial and tweeted this out of it.

That’s where things stand now in a trial expected to last most of the week.

The long-term outcome for the Clippers is not really in doubt. If Donald Sterling wins and is reinstated as a trustee Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA owners will just go back to Plan A and vote him out of his franchise (as they can do, all professional sports league are essentially like a country club with rules to expel members). Then the league will re-open the bidding and sell the team, with the profits being given to the Sterling Trust. However, Shelly Sterling — who gets seats and the games and would help run a charity with Ballmer loosely affiliated with the Clippers under terms of the Ballmer sale — would be out in the cold.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Pelicans interviewed Vinny Del Negro for head coaching position

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Vinny Del Negro AP

    Tough to see him as a stronger candidate than at least two others. Unless …

  2. Report: ‘At least three’ Bulls starters ripped Tom Thibodeau during exit interview

    May 28, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Players supposedly said they’d avoid team facility this summer if Thibodeau remained the head coach.

  3. Tom Thibodeau releases statement after firing, thanks Bulls fans and players

    May 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Thibodeau was fired as Bulls head coach on Thursday.

  4. Barack Obama: Nobody can outshoot Stephen Curry, except maybe Kyle Korver

    May 28, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    US-POLITICS-WEATHER-OBAMA Getty Images

    American president tweets about LeBron James and J.R. Smith

  5. Mavericks considering signing-and-trading Tyson Chandler for DeAndre Jordan

    May 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    Clippers center reportedly interested in signing with Dallas

  6. Jared Dudley on Kevin Love: ‘If you leave LeBron, there’s something’s wrong’

    May 28, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Kevin Love AP

    Kevin Love might leave the Cavaliers in free agency. Cleveland fans, if history is any indication, wouldn’t treat him well if he does. What would Love’s peers think? Colin Cowherd asked Jared Dudley – whom you might remember from saying players avoid Kobe Bryant Bryant and calling Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player –…

  7. Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau

    May 28, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6 Getty Images

    Bulls owner Jerry Reinsforf: ‘There must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private.’

  8. Report: Melvin Hunt frontrunner for Nuggets job

    May 28, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Denver reportedly has not interviewed Mike D’Antoni

Did Chicago do the right thing in firing Thibodeau?

Despite ending, Hawks had season to remember
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (7702)
  2. K. Irving (5859)
  3. K. Love (5680)
  4. K. Korver (4622)
  5. L. James (4434)
  1. A. Horford (3578)
  2. K. Bryant (3540)
  3. D. Howard (3505)
  4. K. Durant (3434)
  5. A. Varejao (3367)