News

Sterling suit against NBA holds up Clippers’ sale

Sterling suit against NBA holds up Clippers’ sale

CLIPPERS CONTROVERSY: The NBA commissioner also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the league's maximum monetary penalty, and urged its 29 other team owners to take the unprecedented step of forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers, which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million. Photo: Associated Press

By Lisa Maria Garza

SAN ANTONIO Texas (Reuters) – National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver said on Sunday a single obstacle blocked completion of the $2-billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers – a lawsuit brought by embattled owner Donald Sterling against the league.

Sterling, 80, sued the NBA and Silver on May 30 seeking at least $1 billion in damages just as the league tentatively approved a deal by his estranged wife, co-owner of the franchise, to sell the club to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Days later, Sterling’s lawyer, Max Blecher, said his client had agreed to the sale and would withdraw the lawsuit. But Silver said the case was still pending and was holding up a final disposition of the deal.

“We’re almost there. There is this last piece, and that is the lawsuit that Donald brought against the League and me personally,” Silver told reporters before Game 2 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio.

PHOTOS: Banned from sports

In an email, Blecher told Reuters that no decision had been made on the lawsuit and all options were under consideration.

At a news conference before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Silver said there was “absolutely no possibility” of rescinding the lifetime ban or the $2.5-million fine he handed down to Sterling following his racist remarks.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA in April after a tape recording of disparaging remarks he made about black people was leaked to the celebrity news website TMZ.com, igniting an uproar among fans, players and commercial sponsors of his team.

The NBA commissioner also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the league’s maximum monetary penalty, and urged its 29 other team owners to take the unprecedented step of forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers, which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million.

After first threatening not to relinquish the team without a fight, Sterling ceded a controlling interest in the team to his wife, Shelly, who was already a 50-percent co-owner through a family trust, for the purpose of negotiating a sale.

After she struck a deal to sell the Clippers to Ballmer for a league record $2 billion, Sterling sued the NBA, seeking, among other things, to recoup the capital gains taxes he would have to pay, though Blecher later said the lawsuit would be dropped.

“I have absolute confidence it will be resolved because as part of the sale agreement with Shelly Sterling, she agreed to indemnify the league against a lawsuit by her husband. So in essence, Donald is suing himself and he knows that. While I understand he is frustrated, I think it’s over,” Silver said.

(Additional reporting by Supriya Kurane and Ankush Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Steve Gorman, Ron; Popeski and Clarence Fernandez)

Recent Headlines

9 mins ago in Sports

Deflategate: Brady gets more time

Fresh
tombrady276076991807

Lawyers for the New England Patriots quarterback have been given another two weeks to appeal his "Deflategate" suspension.

19 mins ago in Sports

Kentucky Bourbon Trail offers a lesson for reviving racing’s fans

Fresh
derby16124571363511

Some of the best-known farms in Kentucky's scenic horse country are borrowing from another of the state's contributions to the good life — bourbon whiskey distilleries — in an effort to win new recruits to an aging and shrinking fan base.

34 mins ago in Entertainment

Dan Aykroyd adapting ‘Blues Brothers’ for animated series

Fresh
danaykroyd391647313397

The animated project will also feature the band's original songs, as well as soul and blues classics, and new material recorded specially for the series, which Aykroyd will help to develop alongside "Saturday Night Live" writer Anne Beatts.

39 mins ago in Entertainment

‘Frozen’ fans want Queen Elsa to ‘come out’

Fresh
21-overlay-2

Fans are urging movie executives to make the film's snow queen Elsa a lesbian in the sequel.

48 mins ago in Music

Lennon’s lyrics, Cobain’s letter and Gaga’s piano up for auction

Fresh
johnlennon296387483243

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics, Lady Gaga's first piano and an angry note from Kurt Cobain discussing the possibility of disbanding Nirvana after an unflattering magazine article are among the top items being offered at an upcoming auction.

Bellingham Traffic