Clippers/Donald Sterling Rumors: Monday

NBA owners reportedly want Donald Sterling out, but USA Today’s Sam Amick casts the notion that the NBA will force Donald Sterling to sell the team as unlikely, given that the league’s constitution and bylaws don’t provide a mechanism for that to happen. A lengthy suspension is the most serious punishment rules allow commissioner Adam Silver to dole out, at least for now, with a $1MM fine also likely to come, as Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of detail. Still the member of the NBA’s Board of Governors who spoke to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports for the story we passed along earlier indicated that he’d be in favor of changing those rules to allow the league to get rid of Sterling. Here’s more on the Sterling saga, with the NBA set to address the matter in a press conference on Tuesday:

  • There are some who believe that Sterling will attempt to pass ownership along to his wife and son-in-law, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. That wouldn’t be drastic enough change to assuage the anger of Doc Rivers and the Clippers players, Stein and Shelburne hear.
  • Rivers has raised the idea that he might leave the Clippers after the season if Sterling is still in place, but since he’s under contract, it wouldn’t be easy for him to do so, Kyler asserts, suggesting that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin would have similar problems exiting the team.
  • One agent tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that Sterling’s remarks will have a “gigantic impact” on the willingness of free agents to sign with the Clippers, though another says it’s too early to judge the effect, and that it could be a “non-issue.”
  • Still, the NBA knows many coaches and players would be hesitant to work for the Clippers in light of this weekend’s revelations, and that’s one reason why the league is indeed trying to push Sterling out, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group asserts (All Twitter links). The idea would be to mount enough pressure on Sterling to prompt him to sell voluntarily, rather than forcing him out, Kawakami adds (on Twitter). There are “less than 1 in 100 million odds” that the league will attempt to force Sterling to sell, a source tells Stein and Shelburne.
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