Donald Sterling Hands Over Clippers Ownership To Wife, Who Agrees To Sell Team
Is this the end of our civic nightmare? It looks like the battle over the Clippers ownership could end faster than we imagined it would. Beleaguered (and notoriously racist) Clippers owner Donald Sterling has signed over rights to his team to his estranged wife, who will negotiate the sale of the Clippers.
Sources close to the deal told TMZ that he wants his wife, Rochelle "Shelly" Sterling, to negotiate the terms of the sale with the NBA, but on her own terms. The last thing the Sterlings want is the NBA to force an involuntary sale, which Donald Sterling thinks could happen if he's in charge. Shelly Sterling has more leverage in the league than her husband, who was banned from the NBA after an audio tape recording of his racist rant against African Americans leaked.
Shelly Sterling and her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, have been reportedly holding secret meetings with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in an attempt to come to terms of a sale amicably. It's not clear how much of her share in the team or if all of it, she's willing to give up. Sources told ESPN that the only way the NBA would agree to this sale if the Sterlings sold the team in its entirety. Her lawyers have told the league she wants to keep 50 percent interest in the team; however, they've also said that they want to resolve this sale amicably.
Just last week, the NBA filed charges to terminate Donald Sterling as owner of the Clippers. There's a hearing scheduled on June 3 in New York. What's interesting is that ESPN notes that even though Donald Sterling wants to give ownership of the team to his wife, an alternate governor, he may run into some roadblocks:
NBA rules, however, prevent him from transferring a controlling interest in the team to anyone, even an alternate governor. A new controlling owner would need to be approved by the board of governors, and Shelly Sterling would not be approved.
However, if the NBA orders an involuntary sale, they should be expecting some legal action from Shelly Sterling, sources told TMZ.