Report: Donald Sterling not approving Clippers sale; wants fine and ban lifted
The pending sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hit another potential snag on Friday, according to a report from the LA Times. It appeared Sterling had approved the sale of the Clippers on Wednesday and dropped his lawsuit against the NBA, but the 80-year-old may have misinterpreted what his standing with the league would be after he sells the team.
Apparently Sterling believed his $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban from the NBA would be lifted once he sold the Clippers. The LA Times cited a source familiar with the league’s stance who said that is not the case.
“In terms of saying something in a draft press release that indicated they would be dismissing the lifetime ban and the fine, that is not true at all,” the source reportedly said. “That doesn’t mean that [Sterling] wouldn’t have read something like that into it.
“But if they interpreted it that way that is wrong and there is no thought of lifting the lifetime ban or the fine being rescinded.”
Sterling’s wife Shelly, who said she is in charge of the Sterling Family Trust and does not need Donald’s signature, negotiated the sale of the Clippers. However, Ballmer prefers to have both Shelly and Donald sign off to avoid the risk of Donald later claiming that control of the Family Trust was illegally taken from him.
To recap, we have gone from Sterling giving Shelly permission to sell the team, to Sterling’s lawyer saying Donald will “fight to the bloody end” to keep the Clippers, to Sterling filing a lawsuit against the NBA, to Sterling dropping his lawsuit and approving the sale, to Sterling once again saying he has not approved the sale. And most of this stuff is coming from his lawyers, so it’s not just gossip.
The end may not be near, after all.