Source: Sterling surrendering Clippers control
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2010 file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling, right, sits with his wife Shelly during the Clippers NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles. Donald Sterling has agreed to surrender his stake of the Clippers to his wife, and she is moving forward with selling the team. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press Friday. May 23, 2014, that the couple made the agreement after weeks of discussion. The individual wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the agreement. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
FILE- This is a Dec. 19, 2011 file photo showing Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling watching the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. The NBA has initiated a charge, Monday, May 19, 2014, against Sterling, setting up a June 3 hearing after which owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)
FILE - This is a April 27, 2014 file photo showing Shelley Sterling, wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, watching from a court side seat during the second half in Game 4 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series between the Clippers and Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif. Donald Sterling has agreed to surrender his stake of the Clippers to his wife, and she is moving forward with selling the team. A person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press Friday. May 23, 2014, that the couple made the agreement after weeks of discussion. The individual wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the agreement.(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
LOS ANGELES – Donald Sterling is turning his ownership stake in the Los Angeles Clippers over to his estranged wife, and she is in talks with the NBA to sell the team, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told the Associated Press yesterday.
The individual, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the deal, said the couple reached the agreement after weeks of discussion.
“Donald Sterling is out, and there will be new owners,” the individual told the AP.
Neither Shelly Sterling nor her attorney had any comment yesterday. They have been in talks with NBA lawyers for the last couple weeks.
“She wants to be able to say, ‘I’m selling the team, not the NBA is selling the team,’ and have meaningful control over that transaction,” the individual told the AP.
Donald Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after the release of a recording last month in which Sterling made racist remarks.
Sterling told female friend V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to Clippers games during a recorded conversation. Sterling specifically mentioned Magic Johnson, and then criticized the NBA Hall of Famer again as a poor role model during a TV interview.
Earlier this week, the NBA charged Sterling with damaging the league and its teams with his comments, and said he has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.
Sterling has until next Tuesday to respond to the charge. He has the right to appear at a New York hearing on June 3 in front of the other owners and make a presentation before the league’s board of governors votes on terminating his ownership. He is entitled to a lawyer at the hearing, but strict courtroom rules of evidence would not apply.
It will take three-quarters of the owners to terminate Sterling’s ownership, and the league says also that of Shelly Sterling.
“She has no plans to sue the NBA,” the individual told the AP. “She’s trying to make nice.”
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, the board chairman, will preside over the June 3 hearing. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners vote to sustain the charge, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981. Silver has said he is confident he has the 23 votes that are necessary.
If Sterling does not respond to the charge within five business days, or does not appear at the hearing, it would be deemed an admission of the “total validity of the charges as presented,” according to the NBA constitution.
Donald Sterling’s attorney had asked for a three-month delay, which the league rejected. His attorney had no comment yesterday.
Article 14a of the NBA’s constitution, which deals with the consequences of termination of ownership, allows the interest of a terminated owner to be placed under the management and control of the commissioner.
He would then have the power to exercise all of the rights that belonged to that owner, including the right to transfer all or any portion of that interest at such prices and terms that the commissioner deems “reasonable and appropriate.”
Ultimately, any sale of the team would have to be approved by the league’s owners.
Shelly Sterling initially had said she would fight to keep her 50 percent share of the team even if her husband is forced to sell, but the league has made it clear that all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated if the other owners vote to sever his control at the June hearing.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement yesterday that the league is continuing to follow the process for terminating the Clippers’ ownership.
One owner, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the sale, said the league would have to be certain the buyer had no connection to the Sterling family.
Miami Heat star LeBron James was one of the first and strongest voices to speak out after the recording of Donald Sterling’s comments was posted online last month.
“We don’t want this to linger around our sport,” James said yesterday after practice. “The quicker it gets done, the sooner we can move on.”