Judge Rules In Favor Of Shelly Sterling

5:20pm: NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass issued a statement on today’s ruling (via Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports on Twitter):

We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer.  We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible.”

4:45pm: The judge in the trial between Donald and Shelly Sterling ruled in favor of the embattled owner’s wife today, saying she had “reasonable” belief Donald authorized her to sell the Clippers and that her testimony was “far and away” more credible than Donald’s, tweets Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times.  Most importantly, the judge also made a ruling under 1310(b) of California Probate Code, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles (on Twitter), and that essentially makes the decision “appeal-proof“.

The move seemingly seals the deal for former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to officially complete his purchase of the Clippers.  If this is indeed the end of the Sterling saga, it will be a great relief to the league office as well as many members of the Clippers.  Matt Barnes was the latest Clipper to raise the specter of a boycott if Donald Sterling remains, as we noted earlier.  Coach/president Doc Rivers and star guard Chris Paul were also among those who have been considering drastic measures if Sterling was not ousted by the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

Last week, Clippers interim CEO Dick Parsons testified that if Sterling stayed and Rivers were to leave, it would spell doom for the franchise.

If Doc were to leave, that would be a disaster,” Parsons said, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne. “Doc is the father figure of the team. Chris [Paul] is the on-court captain of the team. But Doc is really the guy who leads the effort. He’s the coach, the grown-up, he’s a man of character and ability — not just in a basketball sense, but in the ability to connect with people and gain their trust. The team believes in him and admires and loves him. If he were to bail, with all the other circumstances, it would accelerate the death spiral.”

Today’s clean sweep ruling should be the final step towards making Ballmer’s $2 billion purchase official, but Donald Sterling has a long history of dragging things out in court.  The NBA certainly hopes that this will be the end of what has been a bizarre and ugly series of events for the league.

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