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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.

Donald Sterling on sale of Clippers: It’s all good, I’m ready to move on

Donald SterlingDonald Sterling can’t seem to make up his mind about how he feels in the wake of an agreement being reached to sell his team. After sterling allegedly gave his wife the go-ahead to negotiate a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, his lawyer came out and said Sterling will “fight to the bloody end” to keep the team. Less than a week later, Sterling says it’s “all good.”

Fred Roggin of NBC4 in Los Angeles caught up with Sterling at a charity event Tuesday night and asked him how he felt about losing the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The 80-year-old is suddenly fine with it.

“I’m OK, I’m OK,” Sterling said. “Is the NBA OK? I’m not sure about that. Is (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver OK? I’m sure he’s OK.”

Roggin then asked if it’s now time to move on with his life, and Sterling said “move on.”

Sterling’a obviously not all there. That’s not an excuse for the despicable remarks he made on the audio recording that landed him in this mess, but there’s no denying he’s starting to slip in his old age. Maybe he’s just at peace with making a profit of about $1.87 billion on his team and suing the NBA for another $1 billion. Or maybe he literally can’t keep track of his own thoughts.

Steve Ballmer reportedly to buy Clippers after $2 billion winning bid

Steve BallmerFormer longtime Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has won the purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers with a $2 billion bid, according to a report.

The news was first reported by the LA Times’ James Rainey.

CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell reported that at least three bids ranging from $1.2-$1.8 billion came in before Ballmer won the bidding with his $2 billion bid.

The lawyer for Donald Sterling’s wife said that they had been offered $2.5 billion for the team. Looks like that figure was high, but not by too much. $2 billion is a lot of cheddar for the franchise, but like I said before, the demand for such a desirable team filled with legitimate stars and located in such a desirable city was sure to drive bidding higher than expected.

The Times says Ballmer beat out groups led by David Geffen and also the Guggenheim Group, which is the same crew that recently purchased the Dodgers. The $2 billion figure is just below the $2.1 billion the Guggenheim Group paid for the Dodgers.

Donald Sterling’s lawyer says Sterling will ‘fight to the bloody end’ to keep Clippers

Donald SterlingLos Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has remained relatively quiet since the NBA banned him for life, and many have interpreted that to mean he is ready to sell his team and move on. Not so fast, says Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher.

On Tuesday, Blecher told ESPN that Sterling’s group is prepared to “fight to the bloody end” to keep the team. He also said any reports about Donald agreeing to let his wife Shelly negotiate a sale of the Clippers are untrue.

“I don’t know what agreement she has with him, but I’m saying to you today, he disavows anything she’s doing to sell the team,” Blecher said. “He says, ‘It’s my team, and I’ll sell it when and if I get around to it.’”

Blecher said that Sterling was in a “state of shock” at first but is now feeling much more “feisty.” We all know the 80-year-old loves fighting legal battles, so it would be stunning if he simply stepped aside and sold the team like the NBA is hoping he will do.

“I believe what they’ve done is illegal and it will not hold up in court,” Blecher added. “I believe what they’re doing is a blatant invasion of his constitutional rights because they’re using a tape recording that he did not consent to, and under California law, that recording cannot be used for any purpose, for any proceeding.

“So if the basis of their case is illegal evidence, they don’t have much of a case. … The whole thing is a pile of garbage.”

Despite Blecher’s insistence that Sterling has changed his stance, Shelly is still reportedly moving quickly to sell the team. A group reportedly made an offer of $2.5 billion to buy the Clippers on Tuesday. Shelly Sterling has retained Bank of America to help her with the sale and has supposedly received at least six offers.