Sketchy information on a dodgy situation. That’s all anyone is working with at the moment, so it’s hard to know what the real significance might be. But a reported meeting Monday between cantankerous Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, his estranged wife (and opposing litigant) Shelly and aspiring NBA franchise owner Steve Ballmer suggests movement in some direction in the delayed sale of the team.
Depending how friendly the reported “friendly tak” was, it could represent a possible break in the legal wrangling and grinding court battle between Donald and Shelly Sterling, which has been holding up the $2 billion sale longer than the NBA would like. Or it could be a ploy by Donald, a casual chat of no great importance or a waste of time all around.
We’re past the point of clear, straight, discernible plot lines in this Hollywood tale.
So for now, it’s just worth noting that there presumably was some outside-the-courtroom conversation, based on Beverly Hills updates from TMZ.com and ESPNLosAngeles.com. Ramona Shelburne’s work for the latter offered more insight:
The meeting was arranged Sunday night following a three-hour meeting earlier in the day between Donald and Shelly Sterling, sources said.
Donald Sterling had been preparing to file a new suit in state court on Monday morning before he and his wife spoke at length Sunday evening and he agreed to meet with Ballmer, sources said.
While Sterling famously called his wife “a pig” after she testified in the civil case against him two weeks ago, he was emotional when speaking about his love for her during his own testimony.
Shelly Sterling is due to testify again in the civil suit between the Sterlings on Tuesday. At issue in that case is whether Shelly Sterling was authorized to sell the franchise to Ballmer.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking at the NBA’s Board of Governors meeting July 15 in Las Vegas, acknowledged that Donald Sterling still might own the Clippers by the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, based on his desire to fight the process and the pace of the proceedings. The initial deal with Shelly Sterling set a July 15 deadline for the sale to close, with the possibility that it might be extended to Aug. 15.
Silver said the NBA could resume its termination process according to the league’s constitution and by-laws if the Sterling’s probate battle drags on.