NBA – There are new twists and turns in the saga involving embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and the fate of his basketball franchise.
On Monday Sterling had a face to face meeting with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the person with whom his wife Shelly Sterling had negotiated the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. There were hopes and expectations that a settlement would be reached between the two men. They “had a good talk,” but no agreement was made.
On Tuesday interim Clippers CEO, Dick Parsons took the stand in the ongoing probate court proceedings. He testified that he spoke with several players and team sponsors and that they were troubled by Sterling’s continued ownership of the club. Parsons also went on to say that head coach and team president Doc Rivers told him that he would leave if Sterling would remain as the team’s owner. He said that that situation would be very damaging to the team as Rivers was a very important to the franchise. Sterling’s attorneys objected to his testimony, arguing that only Rivers himself would be the proper person to speak regarding his state of mind.
After the hearing, Sterling’s legal team then went to a Superior Court where they filed a new lawsuit against his wife Shelly Sterling, the NBA, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Sterling is seeking damages against them, alleging that they defrauded him and violated corporate law in attempting to sell the team to Steve Ballmer. The court is adjudicating whether or not Shelly Sterling, representing the Sterling Family Trust (which owns the franchise), had the right to negotiate with Ballmer for the sale of the team. Sterling is seeking an injunction from the court to prevent the sale. Sterling alleges that he is sole owner and shareholder of corporation that owns the team, after he revoked the Sterling Family Trust on June 9.
There is, however, a wrinkle in Sterling’s revocation of the Sterling Family Trust. Three banks are considering recalling their loans to Sterling after he dissolved the trust. According the Sterling’s CFO Darren Schield, Donald may have to $500 million worth of properties to cover his debts if he does not sell the basketball franchise for $2 billion.
With this issue being tied up in the courts a resolution could take some time. The next date to mark on the timeline of this saga is September 15. It is at that point that the NBA can supposedly seize the franchise and then sell it auction. Despite Donald Sterling’s pronouncements that he will never sell the team, an intervention by the league would not be to the benefit of Sterling family nor Steve Ballmer.