The National Basketball Association (NBA) continues to move forward with its planned meeting to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, but it appears his estranged wife is getting multiple calls for the franchise.
There are six or more groups interested in the team, according to ESPN. Among those was former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Shelly Sterling met with Ballmer on Sunday, ESPN reported.
Last week, there were news reports that Donald Sterling gave permission to Shelly Sterling to sell the team. But the NBA may not let Shelly Sterling handle the sale.
In addition, there were reports that Donald Sterling transferred his stake in the Clippers to Shelly Sterling.
Among the attorneys, representing the Sterling family, who could have a key role in any deal are Pierce O’Donnell and Bob Baradaran, The Sporting News said.
So far, Donald Sterling has been banned for life from being involved with the NBA, and was ordered to pay a $2.5 million fine. The Clippers are owned by the Sterling Family Trust, which includes Donald and Shelly Sterling.
Donald Sterling is supposed to respond to a letter from the NBA no later than May 27 – regarding the racist rant that was recorded and later released to the media. The NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to meet on June 3, when three-quarters of the owners could vote to end his ownership, with the sale of the team to follow. The team could be sold for as much as $1 billion.
It was reported by TMZ that if the NBA approves an involuntary sale, Shelly Sterling would fight the decision in court. Shelly Sterling wants to keep an interest in the team when it comes to the sale, according to The Los Angeles Times.
So far, the NBA remains on its original course. “We continue to follow the process set forth in the NBA constitution regarding termination of the current ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers and are proceeding toward a hearing on the this matter on June 3,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement reported by The Times.
In making their case against Sterling, the NBA owners claim, “Donald Sterling has taken discriminatory actions and supported discriminatory positions that have had (and will continue to have) a material adverse impact on the NBA and its teams,” InsideCounsel reported.
Among other things, Sterling “disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities;’ denigrated the contribution of NBA players; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans; admonished that acquaintance for posting pictures of herself with African-Americans on social media; directed that acquaintance not to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities.”
The NBA added the actions “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.” In addition, the NBA claimed relevant evidence was destroyed, and “false and misleading evidence was provided to the NBA’s investigator.”