9:26pm: Shelly Sterling and her advisers are reviewing the initial bids from five groups interested in purchasing the Clippers, according to an article by the Sports Xchange (via The Chicago Tribune). The bids are in the $1 billion to $1.2 billion range, the article notes.
WEDNESDAY, 8:36am: Shelly Sterling has set a deadline of this morning for initial bids on the Clippers, according to Shelburne, and she’s seeking binding bids before Tuesday’s Board of Governors hearing, report Brian Mahoney and Tami Abdollah of The Associated Press. Still, it’s unclear whether the league would accept any sale that she attempts to orchestrate. Donald Sterling wants June 3rd hearing dismissed and denies every charge the NBA has levied against him, Shelburne notes. The banned Clippers owner threatens legal action, claims he would be unable to receive a fair hearing and says he never intended to hurt the league with his racially charged statements, as Shelburne writes.
In claiming that the league is treating him inequitably, Sterling points to a gay slur that Kobe Bryant once directed at a referee. That argument likely doesn’t hold water, since players are governed by the collective bargaining agreement, rather than the league’s constitution and by-laws, which sets forth rules for owners, as Michael McCann of SI.com explains. Sterling also references the actions of Magic owner Rich DeVos, who has, according to Sterling, “made highly controversial comments against individuals with HIV/AIDS and generously supports anti-homosexual causes,” Shelburne reports.
TUESDAY, 10:19pm: Shelly Sterling’s statement has been issued, but the NBA plans to move forward with the June 3rd vote, tweets Shelburne.
Donald Sterling’s lawyer tells Shelburne that his client disavows the agreement he has with Shelly Sterling to sell the team for him, and will fight being forced to sell the team “to the bloody end” (Twitter links). For what it’s worth, the lawyer was unaware of the specifics of the agreement between the Sterlings, and Donald Sterling’s strategy has been anything but steady to this point.
8:15pm: Donald Sterling has issued a response to the NBA’s charges against him, maintaining his claim that the league’s attempt to oust him from owning the Clippers is illegal, reports Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today. Shelly Sterling is planning to issue her own statement asserting her position as a bystander, a source tells Schrotenboer. The deadline to respond to the NBA’s charges is tonight, and the league is set to vote on the commissioner’s plan to remove the Sterlings from ownership on June 3.
Shelly Sterling, whom Donald Sterling (but not the league) authorized to manage the sale of the team, has enlisted Bank of America in efforts to sell the team prior to the June 3 vote. She is in talks with at least six bidders that Ramona Shelburne and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com have learned of. She received a “strong” offer from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to purchase the team and keep it in Los Angeles, a person familiar with the negotiations tells Schrotenboer. Donald Sterling’s statement asserts that he has already received offers of over $2.5 billion for the team, per Schrotenboer.
The league would have to approve any sale of the team, and a spokesman reiterated to Scott Cacciola of The New York Times that it would only authorize a voluntary sale in which the Sterlings didn’t retain any interest in the team. While Shelly Sterling’s lawyer told Cacciola that she is working in cooperation with the league on the sale, there is no indication that she is no longer working to keep a minority stake in the team.