Steve Ballmer Wins Bid To Purchase Clippers

SATURDAY, 11:07am: An NBA source downplayed the non-ownership role Sterling was seeking with the team as part of the sale, telling Smith, Wang, and Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News that she will not be involved with the team moving forward.

FRIDAY, 6:04pm: The NBA memo regarding the sale says Shelly Sterling and the Sterling Trust also agree not to sue the NBA and to indemnify the NBA against lawsuits from others, tweets Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. That means that if the NBA loses a lawsuit to Donald Sterling, the Sterling Family Trust would pay some portion or all of the losses, notes Tom Ziller of SB Nation (Twitter link).

5:58pm: The NBA has resolved the dispute with Shelly Sterling and the sale of Clippers to Ballmer is only pending a Board of Governors vote, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The league has also cancelled Tuesday’s ownership termination for Sterling as a result of the pending sale of the team, Wojnarowski reports in a separate tweet.

3:18pm: Donald Sterling has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, according to Shelburne (on Twitter), who confirms an earlier report from TMZ Sports. Neurologists made the diagnosis earlier this month, but it wasn’t Shelly Sterling’s first choice to exercise her power to assume sole power over the family trust. When Donald Sterling changed his mind about his willingness to let his wife sell the Clippers, that’s when Shelly Sterling acted, Shelburne says (All Twitter links).

12:51pm: Donald Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher disputes that he’s “mentally incompetent,” as Shelburne reports. Blecher acknowledges the results of mental health exams that declared him incapacitated and allowed his wife to assume control of the family trust that owns the Clippers, but the attorney says the results are “grossly exaggerated” (Twitter links).

12:19pm: The NBA’s Tuesday hearing to discuss ousting the Sterlings remains on the schedule, the league said today in a press release. Shelly Sterling told the NBA of her deal to sell the team to Ballmer, but she still must file proper documentation, the league says.

THURSDAY, 10:52pm: The rules of the Sterling family trust did not require a court to declare Donald mentally incapacitated, Shelburne tweets.

10:27pm: Shelburne (via Twitter) says that there could still be a response from Donald and his lawyers; however, the first course of action would be to contest Shelly’s move instead of the NBA for the time being.

10:06pm: Mental health experts had recently declared Donald Sterling to be mentally incapacitated, leaving Shelly Sterling as sole trustee with power to sell the team, ESPN learns (tweet via Ramona Shelburne).

8:10pm: Ballmer’s winning bid could postpone a vote scheduled for Tuesday to remove Donald Sterling from the NBA by terminating the team’s ownership, a source tells Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

7:52pm: There is now a signed, binding agreement between Ballmer and the Sterling family trust to sell the Clippers for $2 billion. The deal will reportedly go straight to the NBA for approval and will not need to be signed off by Donald Sterling (All Twitter links courtesy of ESPN LA’s Ramona Shelburne).

7:47pm: Blecher added that Sterling “already has a couple billion dollars, so (he) could not care less” about Ballmer’s $2 billion bid (Chang relays via Twitter).

7:38pm: Max Blecher, Sterling’s lawyer, tells Andrea Chang of the Los Angeles Times that his “belief is (Donald) will not sell the team” (Twitter link, hat tip to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated).

7:28pm: Rainey has edited his original report, now saying that Ballmer “appears to have won” the bid.

7:16pm: David Geffen confirms that he and his investment group – which includes Larry Ellison, Oprah, and Laurene Jobs – have withdrawn from bidding for the Clippers (Twitter link via ESPN’s Darren Rovell).

6:58pm: One source tells Dakota Smith of the L.A. Daily News that a final sale isn’t a done deal and that no winning bid has been picked yet. Smith also hears that the Los Angeles Times “jumped the gun” by reporting the deal, and that news of the sale was leaked from another bidder (Twitter links).

6:46pm: Per Jack Wang of the L.A. Daily News, Blecher says via e-mail that Donald Sterling “is resisting and will resist any sale of the team forced by the NBA” (Twitter link).

6:40pm: A source tells ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne that negotiations are still ongoing. Max Blecher – Donald Sterling’s lawyer – says that his client hasn’t signed off on any sale (Twitter links).

6:02pm: Steve Ballmer has won the bid to purchase the Clippers franchise for two billion dollars, reports James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. As reported earlier today, the former Microsoft CEO was deemed the early favorite in the bidding process. Ballmer’s notable competitors – namely L.A.-based investors Tony Ressler and Steve Karsh and a group that included entertainment mogul David Geffen and executives from the Guggenheim Group – topped their bids at $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion respectively.

Most importantly, as Rainey points out, the deal still needs approval from Donald Sterling. The embattled current Clippers owner – who initially gave his wife the go-ahead to negotiate a sale of the team – recently changed his mind, and would reportedly be open to selling the club only if the NBA were to drop its allegations against him in addition to possibly making a few concessions.

The other 29 NBA owners would also have to give their approval in order to complete the sale, and Rainey writes that Ballmer is expected to clear that hurdle as long as he pledges to keep the Clippers in Los Angeles and not move them to Seattle, where he lives. Ballmer was part of a group led by Chris Hansen that ultimately failed to purchase the Kings with the intent to re-locate them to the Emerald City. In a recent interview, however, Ballmer pointed out that he would have no plans to move the team.

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