Latest On Clippers, Sterlings

Donald Sterling’s on-again, off-again battle with the NBA is apparently on again, as the banned Clippers owner apparently intends to push forward with a lawsuit against the league. We’ll pass along updates as they come in, with the latest on top:

  • Shelburne clarifies that the September 15th deadline is outlined in Ballmer’s purchase agreement as the date by which the sale must close. Ballmer would have the option of pulling out of the deal if the sale hasn’t been finalized by that date, but he’s given no indication he would do so, sources tell Shelburne.

Earlier updates:

  • Shelly Sterling’s deal with Ballmer allows her the option to retain up to a 10% stake in the team that would be controlled by a charitable foundation she runs, report Nathan Fenno and James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times. She has until June 15th to decide whether to take that option or sell 100% of the club, Fenno and Rainey add. Ballmer would have some input on the foundation, but Shelly Sterling would serve as chair, according to the Times scribes. Ballmer would have the majority interest in the Clippers either way, but the league was reportedly unwilling to OK the sale of the Clippers unless the Sterlings divested themselves of the entire team.
  • Shelly Sterling’s request to expedite her probate court hearing was denied, as Donald Sterling attorney Bobby Samini tells Shelburne (Twitter link). The hearing, which will determine whether Shelly Sterling has the power to sell the Clippers without her husband’s consent, will take place from July 7th through 10th, and that’s in advance of a previously scheduled Board of Governors meeting, Shelburne tweets. The NBA could vote to approve the sale to Steve Ballmer during that meeting if the court sides with Shelly Sterling.
  • The documents Shelly Sterling filed in court today asked that the hearing be sped up so that the sale of the team to Ballmer could close before September 15th, according to Shelburne (Twitter links). It’s unclear if that deadline is league-imposed or otherwise, but the NBA has threatened to revive its plans to convene the Board of Governors in a special meeting to vote on forcibly stripping the team from the Sterlings.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver expressed some anxiety about the timetable in an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” today (transcription via “To me, I’m concerned it’s going to delay Steve Ballmer taking over the Clippers,” Silver said. “The team is sort of a little bit in limbo right now. We have Dick Parsons in right now as the interim CEO. He’s a terrific guy. But of course, I can understand from a player’s perspective — they’re going into a draft, they’re going into free agency. The guys want to know where they stand. So we’d like everything to just be clear, so everybody understands how this team is moving forward. That’s my concern, that it just seems unsettled.”
  • Donald Sterling would have to challenge his wife in probate court if he were to mount an effective fight against the league, tweets Ramona Shelburne of Max Blecher, one of his attorneys, suggested that he indeed intends to go after Shelly Sterling in probate court, Shelburne adds (Twitter link). Shelly Sterling plans to seek an emergency probate court order to expedite the hearing, Shelburne also tweets.
  • Shelly Sterling receives the title of “owner emeritus” of the Clippers, two tickets to all Clippers home games and five parking spots as part of her $2 billion deal to sell the team to Steve Ballmer, reports Scott Cacciola of The New York Times. Sterling also gets three championship rings if the Clippers win a title, Cacciola adds.
  • Shelly Sterling’s lawyer was aware when Donald Sterling underwent neurological testing in May of a provision in the Sterling family trust that would allow her to take over if Donald Sterling was found incapacitated, Cacciola writes. Still, Shelly Sterling attempted to persuade her husband to agree to sell the team before she resorted to using the clause in the trust, according to Cacciola.
  • Ballmer felt from the start that he’d have to make a bid that was far and away the best one in order to ensure he’d land the Clippers, Cacciola hears. Shelly Sterling made keeping the team in Los Angeles a condition of her deal with Ballmer, the Times scribe adds.
  • Ballmer’s initial bid was $1.925 billion, and Shelly Sterling pushed him to add the $75MM that brought it to $2 billion, according to Cacciola. He didn’t know until after that point about the clause in the Sterling family trust that allowed Shelly Sterling to unilaterally arrange for the sale, Cacciola reports.
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