Banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has surrendered control of the NBA franchise to his wife Shelly Sterling, according to both TMZ and ESPN. She will likely negotiate the forced sale of the team, although the NBA hasn’t formally accepted this arrangement just yet.
This is an interesting turn of events, considering Sterling had all along stated that he was going to fight the possible forced sale via a lawsuit against the NBA. In addition, the disgraced owner had until Tuesday, May 27th to respond to the NBA’s charges to terminate his ownership of the Clippers filed earlier this past Monday.
Friday’s move to hand the reigns of the team to Shelly could preempt a possible forced sale of the team. The league’s owners have a planned June 3rd hearing in New York City hearing in which all of them will vote on whether Sterling should sell the team. If three-fourths of NBA owners vote against Sterling, he would be forced to sell the Clippers under league rules.
ESPN reports that Shelly Sterling and her lawyers have been negotiating with the NBA since her husband was banned for life and fined a maximum $2.5 million by league commissioner Adam Silver on April 29th. The NBA came down hard on troubled billionaire for racist remarks he made toward African Americans on a released recording with former confidant V. Stiviano.
Mrs. Sterling's lawyers have previously stated that she intends to hang onto her 50% share of the team, but Friday’s news may suggest both Sterlings are done fighting and ready to work with the NBA amicably to sell the franchise.
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(Photo: UPI/Jim Ruymen /LANDOV)