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Clippers CEO: If Sterling remains owner then Doc Rivers, players, sponsors all ready to bolt

Jul 22, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT

This is why the NBA will force Donald Sterling out as Clippers owner one way or another before the start of next season — he is poisonous to the Clippers and the NBA’s business model right now.

League appointed interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons took the stand Tuesday in the California Probate Case between Donald and Shelly Sterling over the Sterling Family Trust — which owns the Los Angeles Clippers. The bottom line is if Shelly wins this case the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion will go forward, if Donald wins he will dissolve the Trust and be in position to block the sale (although the league will yank his franchise anyway).

Parsons painted a bleak picture of the Clippers future, starting with team president and coach Doc Rivers wanting out, reports the Associated Press.

“Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else,” Parsons said. “If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”

While the Sterling saga became national news during the playoffs Rivers uncomfortably stood in front of his players and worked to deflect the storm. He wasn’t having fun doing it, but he wanted to do what was best for the team. If he bolts, things could get ugly, and Parsons talked about it on the stand. Arash Markazi of ESPN tweeted this out of the courtroom.

And it wouldn’t just be Doc Rivers running for the exits if Sterling stays, noted Kim Baldonado of NBC Los Angeles and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

This sums up the NBA’s problem with the Clippers and Sterling.

If you just said to yourself, “What if Sterling wins this case, this was a private recording made public?” know that your question is moot.

If by mid-September Shelly Sterling has not won this case and the sale to Steve Ballmer has not gone through, expect the league to take the steps to vote Donald Sterling out as owner and sell the team. Likely for less money.

It’s just bad business to have him as the owner when the season starts.

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