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Steve Ballmer to get rid of Apple products in Clippers organization

Steve BallmerFormer Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be taking some of his roots with him to the Clippers organization.

Ballmer, who purchased the Clippers from the Sterling Family Trust in May, plans to rid the team of Apple products, according to a story from Reuters.

Reuters describes Ballmer as a product loyalist who does not allow his family to own iPhones. The 58-year-old Michigan native is going to try to do the same with the team’s players and coaches.

“Most of the Clippers are on Windows, some of the players and coaches are not,” Ballmer told Reuters.

“And [Coach Doc Rivers] kind of knows that’s a project. It’s one of the first things he said to me: ‘We are probably going to get rid of these iPads, aren’t we?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, we probably are.’ But I promised we would do it during the off season.”

I wonder if Doc said that to Ballmer as a joke, only to be told that it was actually a real goal. Then again, Ballmer is the largest individual shareholder of Microsoft, so people probably understand why he feels so strongly about the company.

H/T Deadspin

NBA announces sale of Clippers to Steve Ballmer has been finalized

Steve BallmerThe NBA announced on Tuesday that the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been finalized. The $2 billion transaction had previously been approved by the NBA Board of Governors, and Tuesday’s closing officially makes Ballmer the team’s new governor.

The finalization of the sale was made possible by a California court confirming that Shelly Sterling had the power to sell the Clippers on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust. Sterling was previously deemed mentally incapacitated by two doctors and was removed as co-trustee. The 80-year-old fought the ruling in court but was unsuccessful.

While it would not be surprising if Sterling continued to explore avenues to sue the NBA, it sounds like he does not have much legal ground to stand on.

The Clippers are planning to hold a fan festival at the Staples Center on Monday to introduce Ballmer as the team’s new owner. Doc Rivers and the Clippers players will be in attendance.

“This is an amazing new day in Clippers history,” Rivers said Tuesday. “I couldn’t be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization. I am already inspired by Steve’s passion for the game, his love of competition and desire to win the right way and I know our players and fans are going to be inspired as well.”

Ballmer said in a statement that he will be “hardcore” in trying to put the Clippers in a position to win.

“I am humbled and honored to be the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers,” he said. “Clipper fans are so amazing. I will be hardcore in giving the team, our great coach, staff and players the support they need to do their best work on the court. We will do whatever necessary to provide our fans and their families with the best game-night experience in the NBA.”

Adam Silver was confident the NBA would force Sterling out from the second his racist audio rant went viral. The new NBA commissioner made good on his promise.

Chris Paul talked with Doc Rivers about boycott if Donald Sterling remains Clippers’ owner

Clkippers warmups

Chris Paul says he has talked with head coach Doc Rivers about a potential boycott if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers when the NBA season begins.

Paul, who is a leader on the Clippers and president of the NBAPA, told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that it’s “unacceptable” if Sterling is still the team’s owner when the season begins. To that end he talked with Rivers about the possibility of sitting out games.

“That’s something me and Doc are both talking about,” Paul told Goodman Thursday. “Something has to happen, and something needs to happen soon — sooner rather than later.”

Interim Clippers CEO Dick Parsons testified that Rivers has said he does not want to coach the team if Sterling is the owner. Paul also intends to talk with his teammates about the possibility of a boycott.

Sterling is in the middle of a lawsuit aimed to determine whether his wife acted improperly in selling the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. His hope is to have the sale of the team to Ballmer blocked. He also filed a lawsuit in May alleging that the NBA acting improperly with their harsh punishments against him. As if those two suits weren’t enough, Sterling filed a third suit this week in which he accuses wife Shelly, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver of defrauding him.

It looks like Sterling aims to get the sale of the team stuck in a legal jam that will allow him to linger as team owner for as long as possible.

Paul’s words are probably more of a threat than reality. Perhaps the thinking is that if the Clippers’ leaders can present the real possibility of a boycott, the legal system would have to answer these problems sooner rather than later.

LeBron James reportedly intrigued by sign and trade to Clippers

LeBron James trophiesLeBron James on Tuesday opted out of the final year of his contract with the Miami Heat and will become a free agent.

Though James has the ability to listen to offers from all suitors and choose his next team, the Miami Heat are still the strong favorites to retain him. I just can’t see him leaving Miami, though he will definitely want assurances from Pat Riley that the team will give him a better supporting cast next season than they had last season.

Still, James has earned the right to hear the pitches from other teams. One report says the Clippers in a sign and trade could be an intriguing possibility for James.

From Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

The most intriguing move on the mind of James and his camp, sources told Yahoo Sports, would be a sign-and-trade scenario with the Los Angeles Clippers in which James could play with close friend Chris Paul and under president-coach Doc Rivers.

Despite acknowledging the potential intrigue behind a move to the Clippers, Woj says the Heat are the “primary consideration” for James.

Like I said, I can’t see James leaving the Heat, but sometimes it’s fun to visit fantasyland and ponder the possibilities. LeBron to the Clippers would be a lot of fun, and having Chris Paul and Blake Griffin on his team certainly would be better than what he has now with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

Shelly Sterling going to court, concerned Steve Ballmer could back out of deal

Shelly-Sterling-Donald-SterlingNow that Donald Sterling seems to have made up his mind that he is going to fight to keep the Los Angeles Clippers, his wife Shelly Sterling has decided she will take Donald to court in an attempt to finalize her control over the Sterling Family Trust.

According to Tami Abdollah of the Associated Press, Shelly is seeking an emergency order for a hearing to try to convince a judge to grant her full authority to sell the Clippers. Shelly has previously stated that she is the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust and does not need Donald to sign off on the sale of the team after neurologists determined last month that he suffers from dementia and is “mentally incapacitated.”

Sterling’s lawyer Max Belcher claims Donald is fully capable of handling his own affairs.

“There isn’t the slightest evidence he’s incapable of managing his affairs,” Belcher said.

A separate report from TMZ claims Shelly is growing concerned that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer could back out of his $2 billion agreement to purchase the Clippers. The tentative deal between Shelly and Ballmer reportedly contains an escape clause for Ballmer if it is determined that she does not have clear control over the team.

Should Donald win his case against Shelly and prove he is mentally fit to remain owner of the Clippers, the NBA will revert to its original plan of forcing Sterling out through a vote. David Aldridge of NBA.com reports that the league “initiated termination protocol” against Sterling last month but halted the process when it appeared Sterling was going to agree to give up the team.

The only thing we are certain of as the saga rolls on is that there are a ton of moving parts. That means the entire ordeal is going to take some time to sort out. Whether the legal proceedings are enough to scare Ballmer away remains to be seen.

Shelly Sterling to stay connected to Clippers after sale?

Shelly-SterlingShelly Sterling was in charge of negotiating the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The NBA previously made it clear that allowing Shelly to remain a part of the organization after Donald Sterling has been banned for life is not an option, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be connected to the team in any way if Ballmer buys it.

According to CBS News, the agreement between the Sterling Family Trust and Ballmer allows for up to 10% of the team ($200 million) to be used toward a charitable foundation that would be run by both Shelly Sterling and Ballmer. The foundation will reportedly be dedicated to underprivileged families, battered women, minorities, and inner-city youths.

The idea to allow Shelly to continue some role in the team was floated early on by her attorney, Pierce O’Donnell – neither he nor Shelly Sterling responded to a request for comment – and it was enthusiastically agreed to by the NBA. “The NBA was all over it in terms of support,” one of the individuals said. “It gave her a meaningful role and stake in the team, and gave the NBA 100 percent sale of the team.”

While the NBA has supposedly agreed to the charity work and Shelly’s involvement with it, a league spokesman said she will have absolutely no involvement with the basketball franchise itself if the deal goes through.

“It’s not accurate that Mrs. Sterling will have a role with the Clippers or a stake in the team,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said.

Of course, it remains unclear where Donald Sterling stands with regard to the sale of the Clippers at the moment. After dropping his lawsuit against the NBA and agreeing to sign off on the agreement, Sterling has apparently decided that he wants his lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine rescinded before he proceeds.

Report: Donald Sterling not approving Clippers sale; wants fine and ban lifted

Donald Sterling billion

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.