Reports: Sterling relinquishes control, wife wants to negotiate sale of Clippers

NBA.com staff

According to several news reports, banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to let his estranged wife Shelly negotiate a sale of the team. The news was first reported by TMZ.com, which aired the secret recording of Donald Sterling’s racist rant that kick started the whole scandal:

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne followed up:

USA Today’s Sam Amick had his own sources (via reporting by Brent Schrotenboer and Jeff Zillgitt) confirming the report:

According to TMZ, Shelly was ready to contest an involuntary sale of the team. But if the NBA agrees to the deal — and there is no word from the league yet — she reportedly will have at least some say in it.

Our sources say Shelly and her lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, have been secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA lawyers to “resolve the dispute amicably.”  We’re told Shelly realizes the NBA wants the team sold, but she has significantly more leverage and credibility with the league than Donald.  Her end game is simple — she won’t object to the sale, but SHE wants to call the shots.

Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck offers this caveat, though:

TNT’s David Aldridge agrees:

If the league agrees to a deal with Shelly Sterling, the NBA’s stated goal of separating the Sterlings from their stake in the team — voluntarily or otherwise — seemingly would be accelerated and, maybe more importantly, the league would sidestep what most predicted would be a protracted and costly legal battle.

Some other complications may arise, though, according to USA Today’s Amick:

There are contingencies in the agreement, a second person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. Shelly Sterling has agreed to sell the team as long as she retains a minority interest in the Clippers, according to the second person, who also requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the negotiations.

It was not immediately clear whether the NBA will agree to Shelly Sterling’s terms. The NBA, which banned Sterling for life on April 29, has said its move to terminate Donald Sterling’s ownership would also terminate any other ownership interest in the team. But that process could be affected by Donald Sterling’s decision to voluntarily transfer his share of the team to his wife.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling  from the NBA for life on April 29, fined him $2.5 million and said the league planned to take control of the team and sell it for his remarks that, among other things, “significantly undermine and call into question the NBA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing partners and licensees, as well as with government and community leaders.”

League owners are scheduled to vote on his ouster next week. It takes a 3/4 vote of the other owners, according to the NBA’s constitution, to strip Sterling of his ownership. The league then would put the team up for sale and the Sterlings would have no input in the process.

Already, speculation regarding the next owner of the Clippers is rampant. Former Lakers great Magic Johnson, Former TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey (who Forbes says is worth $2.9 billion) and many others have been said to be lining up for the right to buy the team, which is expected to go for a record $1 billion or more.

This, from ESPN’s Bill Simmons:

27 Comments

  1. Sage80 says:

    Because in America, we force you to get out of business when we don’t like your private conversations. It’s the American way! If by American, I mean Stalinist

  2. Bird33 says:

    Dear Adam – you’ve got more important things to spend your time on. I say – boot anyone named Sterling to the curb, drive forward and sell the Clips to whoever the NBA approves and don’t look back. In short – you and the other Owners are in charge and regardless of what crazy Shelly or Donnie think, it’s not a democracy.

    PS – I agree with the comments above – big…BIG…mistake to let any of the “racist’s” family manage the sale – especially given the potential buyers (Magic, Yao, G Hill, Orpah, etc) – this scenario would contradict why you banned Donald in the first place and would be a “head scratcher” move.

    Good luck. You’re doing a great job so far.

  3. Laker fan says:

    They should sell the team to Larry Ellison.

  4. sally says:

    Is this the NBA or the NAACP. I am so sick of hearing this BS. all because some senile old man said something stupid in private that a million other people do everyday, and got caught. Even the players call one another the N word in the locker room all the time, what is the difference, and I got news for you none of it had anything to do with the way the Clippers played or even if they did, that was all hype. Those players could care less about that kind of stuff they just want to play ball, It’s the League that hyped it up just so somebody wouldn’t be offended and quit going to the games. It’s all about money, cut and dried. Let’s just stick with what the NBA stands for and play basketball and leave the politics out of it. Fans do not care about all the drama around some senile old man, who cares what he says, if he’s in his own home he can say what he wants, and so can you and so can I. PLAY BALL FOLKS, THAT’S WHAT YOUR FANS WANT !!!!!

  5. Nast says:

    This move is really disturbing for me.. Am i the only one seeing why ???

    It’s clearly made to choose a next owner that will fit with Sterlings’ criteria.. (hmmm, not Magic mainly?)
    Like journalists reported:
    1. The Sterlings do NOT want to deal with or see ppl from other ethnicity in places they own.. Both have been alleged with racist actions/comments.
    2. Magic, Oprah, P.Diddy, Mayweather, DeLaHoya were lining up to buy the Clipps.
    We got those 2 points, and then this move.. coincidence?

    • Mo says:

      hey Nast…OMG…an owner wants to control who to sell his property to…wow…what’s the world coming to. Hold the presses

  6. i was amazed to learn that the clippers were worth that kind of money. but hey it’s california.

  7. Robert Johnson says:

    I live in Calif. and the people my wife and I discuss the NBA with have referred to basketball as black ball many times. I am white and we notice that most of the players are black and want to be referred to as black when discussing race. We are also loaded with Mexicans and they are referred to as Mexicans. I am white and referred to as white or names I cannot use by them. What is going on in LA is stupid and will affect the league in the future. Where I live in California The TV every night shows the people who are on trial for crime they have done, and they are either Black or Mexican. So what has the Clipper owner done wrong? We do not want them close to us either. I hope if they vote him out, let it be with at least a half a billion.

    • Common Sense says:

      You’re worse than sterling because you had time to organize your thoughts,he was set up…your comments are sad indeed. And for the record the team is worth more than 500 MILLION….

  8. Gilbert Francis says:

    My Opinion:
    ARE THE NBA SERIOUS?
    …oust Shelly Sterling as co-owner, with the Clippers then falling under the control of commissioner Adam Silver….

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140523/donald-sterling-wife-shelly-los-angeles-clippers-sale-nba/#ixzz32Zbp2agU

    What the NBA commissioner and his chords are doing is EXTORTION!
    Has America changed? I thought this GREAT country would never see the day when Americans (Black or White) are subject to this kind of behavior with out the FBI getting involved.
    If my friend; “Magic” and the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver realizes the hole they are digging for Donald Sterling, they would slam the breaks and let Mr. Sterling’s wife keep the team. When the Republicans win the next Election the repercussion for NBA will be severe.

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140523/donald-sterling-wife-shelly-los-angeles-clippers-sale-nba/#ixzz32ZctxNZD

  9. Vitaliy M says:

    Any chance of seeing Clippers in Seattle?

  10. Zac says:

    no way NBA could sell the Clippers to ‘Magic’ the Laker Legend. Thats like destroying the clippers. hey LA, you wanna trade Griffin and paul for two 2nd-round-picks?

  11. Chris says:

    Buy the team Yao, the game needs you!

  12. BallIsLife says:

    Just sale the damn team!!!!!

  13. Game Time says:

    I can see here first offer now 1 BILLION DOLLARS! AHAHAHAHAHA!

  14. Thomas says:

    I fully agree that the team needed to be sold. But why is it that black people can be just as prejudiced and hateful to other races and other people that are different. IE Charles Barkley, with his comments about fat people. I can’t count the number of black athletes and owners that have repeatedly said they will always hate white people. Yet nothing is said about any of them. Am I wrong or does prejudism only occur if it is a white person making said statements. By the way for all your haters, I am of a mixed heritage.

    • Common Sense says:

      The world is interesting my friend..I too am mixed race and if you lived in LA you would have the opportunity to vist a place called the Museum of Tolerance. A place that holds a lot of artifacts on the Holocaust. Interesting enough to enter the museum you must walk through one of two doors. Prejudice door, or Non-prejudice door. They gather the guests at the entrance until they have a group and then they give them the choice to make their pick. The funny part is that the Non-prejudice door is locked. It is locked because everyone is prejudice, period. Prejudice is simply making a decision today based on your experience of yesterday. For example some people had a bad pizza one day in Mexico City and when they end up in Italy they avoid it like the plague. That is prejudice. If you do the same thing with race, you are considered racist. So in my opinion everyone is somewhat racist. We have only met so many people that belong to each race and our future relations depend on our past experiences. It really is a matter of HATE. Not prejudice. Most black people don’t HATE all white people, but as a generality they may be angry. Anger is completely understandable based on our past, but Hating everyone from now on is wrong, white or black. And for the record I’m half Japanese and we are one of the only other races other than blacks that were not allowed to be Free in the USA in the past 100 years. But this is definitely something to be open minded about because there is a huge gray area. George Carlin said it best. “I’m not racist, I HATE all races equally” Finally, this Sterling debate is really about a horrible conversation between an old man, his 20 year old mistress, his cheated on wife, and the NBA that is trying to uphold an image that Sterling did not uphold. It’s really not about racism, it’s about character, and he is a cheating, grumpy old man that was exposed. And unfortunately he can’t be unexposed, so he has to go, and so does his wife. In fact, if she really wants to own the Clippers, the only way to do it, would be to get divorced and then buy a portion of the Clippers with her own money. As long as she is married Sterling will own half of her interests, no matter how small.

      • cp10 says:

        Most americans would benefit from these insights, we just don’t think and talk openly enough because 1) we’re not good at it 2) it’s difficult to talk about 3) everyone and their grandma are trying to get the upper hand 4) the white and black cultures here are too polarizing and leads to a natural separation. But I’ve learned not to hate, it’s difficult but hopefully it serves as a good example for the next generation to pick up on at least. At the very least let’s all not hate each other as relations can be difficult enough.

      • No Regrets says:

        I keep hearing people say (Mark Cuban said it as well) that everyone is prejudiced to some degree, but that is not true. Unless you and Cuban know everyone on this planet and can speak on their behalf.
        The problem you seem to have in the US is you seem to think in terms of races. Well, there’s no such thing as races for humans. They don’t exist. Our genetic makeups are so similar that it simply doesn’t make sense to speak of different races, much less on the basis of skin colour or anything else that superficial.
        Race is a social term, a remnant from the times people were ignorant and hateful. When you stop thinking in these terms, and identifying yourselves in these terms, you’ll have moved on.
        And I don’t know how this was portrayed in the US media, other than this website, but this is about racism. And it shouldn’t be tolerated.

    • Game Time says:

      Not sure where you got that info from, but I don’t ever recall reading about a black athlete openly saying ” I hate or dislike” white people.

  15. leborn jaems says:

    damn ill buy the clips if ever..

  16. Sounds hopeful, but I doubt that this will go over smoothly with the Sterling family. Whether the team is given to the wife or not, she is dumb enough to stay married to a man like Donald Sterling into her latter years so why do we all of a sudden feel she will make an intelligent choice? The situation is going to a long drawn out legal process that will eventually get the team away from Donald Sterling, but he will be half dead by time that happens.

  17. FunkyAxl says:

    Whatever happens DO NOT sale the team to Magic!

    I’m a huge Lakers fan but i suspect Magic ain’t that innocent…

    I think the league trapped Sterling so they can get rid of him.

    I heard the tape & it’s ridicolous, he was set up, nonetheless i hate racists.

    Let the Sterlings decide who will buy the team, not the persons Nba wants to.

    • Common Sense says:

      It does seem interesting that Magic bought the dodgers when there were two teams in LA that play basketball, then you look at it and realize that Jerry Buss and Donald Sterling were never going to sell. Then Jerry dies and you think it is going to have a new owner, but the family tries to keep it alive… Magic really had no option of buying a basketball team, unless something drastic happens and it is interesting that when something drastic happened Magic was the first name to pop up outside of the husband, the wife, and the mistress…But I love Magic and h would be an incredible owner. And the Clippers would love playing for him…but I get your point

      • JENNY JONES!!! says:

        MAGIC’S NAME IS IN IT B/C STERLING PUT IT THERE NOT MAGIC. LOL!!! AND MAGIC IS A BUSINESS MAN SO WHY WOULDN’T HE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHER PEOPLE’S STUPIDITY AND GO FOR SUCH A GREAT OPPORTUNITY AS THIS ONE AND THE DODGERS. CALL MAGIC A LOT OF THINGS PERSONALLY BUT WHEN IT COMES TO BUSINESS STUPID IS NOT ONE. GOOD FOR HIM IF HIS GROUP GETS THE TEAM………JENNY JONES!!!!