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Clippers, Donald Sterling Rumors: Tuesday

With commissioner Adam Silver set to address Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments in minutes, here’s the latest on the situation:

  • A source tells Chris Mannix of that Sterling’s punishment will be “severe,” and while many team officials expect an indefinite suspension, at least, there’s still significant doubt about the NBA’s ability to force Sterling to sell, given the threat that he’d try to sue (Twitter links).
  • Stuart Pfeifer, Ben Bolch and James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times detail the exodus of sponsors from the Clippers. That might give Silver the means to come down harder on Sterling, attorney Irwin Raij, a sports business attorney of Foley & Lardner in New York, tells the Times.
  • The Times report includes remarks from a Clippers player who wonders whether he could cite a “hostile work environment” as grounds to escape from his contract. The player declined to be identified because he said he and his teammates were told not to comment on the matter, Pfeifer, Bolch and Rainey write.
  • Billionaire real estate developer Rick Caruso is interested in buying the Clippers if they become available, according to Pfeifer, Bolch and Rainey, while sources tell Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison may also have interest.
  • Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, whom the players union has asked to act as its voice in the Sterling saga, acknowledges says that the players believe he should no longer own the team, as Johnson writes on Facebook. The mayor nonetheless acknowledges the league might not have the power to strip the team from Sterling, though he calls for an indefinite suspension and the maximum possible fine.
  • Hawks owner Bruce Levenson would vote to oust Sterling or force him to sell the team, as he told 92.9 The Game, notes Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Mavs owner Mark Cuban, meanwhile, is concerned about the “slippery slope” that might be created if the NBA were to remove an owner based his comments alone, notes Tim McMahon of

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