Clippers Rumors: Free Agency, Rivers, Sterling

A prominent agent told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that he has clients who don’t intend to sign with the Clippers this summer unless Donald Sterling is “gone completely.” That indicates the Sterling saga will indeed have an effect on free agency, as there’s almost no chance the situation will be resolved by July, as Deveney points out.

“I don’t think the whole thing winds up with Sterling back in charge, that is just hard to imagine,” another agent told Deveney. “There’s the chance, though. There’s a chance you wind up working for Sterling. That’s the problem.”

Here’s more from a team that fought off the Thunder and a media circus to overcome a 22-point deficit in Sunday’s win:

  • People around the league feel as though Doc Rivers won’t leave the Clippers even if the league hasn’t completely severed its ties with Sterling by this summer, Deveney writes in the same piece. Rivers hasn’t said definitively that he’ll return to the team for next season after raising questions about his future shortly after the Sterling fiasco began.
  • The league believes it can strip Shelly Sterling’s ownership of the team when it does so with her husband, as we passed along last night, though Shelly Sterling intends to fight that interpretation, as she told ABC’s Barbara Walters“To be honest with you, I’m wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there’s 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband?” Shelly Sterling said. “Or would they leave the husband in?”
  • Pierce O’Donnell, the attorney for Shelly Sterling, cited the U.S. Constitution in his rebuttal to the league’s contention that it can take the team from her. Legal experts have emphasized to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News that the Constitution doesn’t apply to businesses like the NBA, and lawyers make it clear that such a defense is flimsy, Medina adds (Twitter links).
  • Shelly Sterling also told Walters that she’s been speaking to attorneys for the last 20 years about a divorce, which could further complicate the league’s efforts to remove the Sterlings.
  • Donald Sterling attempted to explain his racially charged remarks and asked the league’s forgiveness in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
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