Sterling transfers control of Clippers to wife for sale

posted at 2:01 pm on May 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

This comes as a bit of a surprise from the epically-litigious Donald Sterling, whom some expected to fight the NBA for control of his team in court. Instead of backing down and selling the team himself, as the league demanded, Sterling has transferred controlling interest to his estranged wife Shelley, who plans to sell the team on better terms:

Donald Sterling is no longer the controlling owner of the Los Angeles Clippers … TMZ Sports has learned he just surrendered control to his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, and she is now secretly negotiating with the NBA to sell the team … ON HER TERMS.

Sources close to the Clippers organization tell us … Donald made the decision because he saw the handwriting on the wall — as long as he remained in control, the NBA would order an involuntary sale of the team.

Our sources say Shelly and her lawyer, Pierce O’Donnell, have been secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA lawyers to “resolve the dispute amicably.”    We’re told Shelly realizes the NBA wants the team sold, but she has significantly more leverage and credibility with the league than Donald.  Her end game is simple — she won’t object to the sale, but SHE wants to call the shots.

The concession here may be to get the NBA to hold off on its effort next week to strip control of the team from the Sterlings. If the league backs off after sidelining Sterling on both the basketball and legal courts, Shelley Sterling can hold out for a larger pool of bidders with more lucrative terms than if they have to snap-sell the team before the June 3 league meeting. If the NBA went ahead and forced an involuntary sale of the team, Shelley Sterling would have filed a lawsuit and an injunction that would have tied up the situation for months, if not years.

This is an informal arrangement, at least as far as the NBA is concerned. Silver wants the team sold, and if Donald is willing to accommodate rather than sue, all the better. In effect, I’m not sure anything will proceed differently than had he just agreed to sell the team himself.

The NBA contends, if the other owners vote to remove Donald’s ownership, Shelly would also lose hers. That vote is scheduled for June 3.

The clock for Shelly to complete a sale is ticking.

Well, if the league plays ball, it’s not ticking anywhere near as urgently. It shouldn’t take very long to get bidders in line for the team now. Interested parties have known for weeks that the Sterlings would likely have to dump the Clippers, and have probably already begun pulling together investors for a potential bid. This will just raise the bar on the final price.

The league seems willing to go along with it, as long as the sale means the Sterlings are fully out at the end of the transaction:

But a source said that over the course of this week, Sterling has rethought his position and formally agreed to allow Shelly — an alternate governor of the team — to negotiate a sale.

NBA rules, however, prevent him from transferring a controlling interest in the team to anyone. A new controlling owner would need to be approved by the board of governors, and Shelly Sterling would not be approved.

It is not known whether Shelly Sterling intends to sell the team in its entirety, but that is the only way the NBA would accept the terms of this agreement between Donald Sterling and his wife, sources said.

ESPN thinks Shelley Sterling wants to keep at least some ownership position, but if that’s the case, expect this deal to fall apart soon.

Now that the Sterling matter looks like it’s on its way to a resolution, when does the NBA take up Mark Cuban’s ownership of the Dallas Mavericks?

In an interview with Inc. magazine at a business conference in Nashville, Tennessee, the Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire entrepreneur talked about his own bigotry.

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street,” he said. “And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street.”

Cuban said everyone has prejudices “in one way or the other.”

The Mavericks owner issued a five-part tweet Thursday afternoon in which he apologized to Trayvon Martin’s parents for the hoodie reference, but stood by the context of his answers and called for more tolerance.

This got a lot of attention and outrage, but it’s pretty clear from the context that Cuban was decrying these impulses, not endorsing them. So much for “honest conversations.”


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Trying to care….tryyyyyiiiinngggg…..GAH! Nope, nothing there. I tried though.

Bishop on May 23, 2014 at 2:03 PM

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.” -Mark Cuban

Akzed on May 23, 2014 at 2:04 PM

It will get really interesting if the league offers up a list of approved buyers for the Clippers, based on the PR value of at least 1-2 members of the group(s), but Shelley Sterling has one who’ll pay more money and has no obvious red flags, but doesn’t provide the proper image the league wants for the new owners of the team. Lawsuits aplenty then.

jon1979 on May 23, 2014 at 2:07 PM

I hope one of her clauses is “anyone but Magic Johnson, in perpetuity. If Magic Johnson is ever found to have any interest in the team, the franchise reverts back to me and my heirs”

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 2:11 PM

NBA – National Basketcase Association

Bitter Clinger on May 23, 2014 at 2:11 PM

The story is boring by now…not you, HA, just in general.

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Watch Magic Johnson magically become the owner.

melle1228 on May 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Jessie Jackson of Hymietown fame was forced to sell his interests in breweries/bottlers and other ……
Oh wait, that never happened.

MistyLane on May 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

OK. Fine. But I have a question, about discussing racial issues.

What kind of country do we have when SC judge Sotomayor can rail on and on about treating races differently in a written opinion of dozens of pages, and how important that is, and not a peep of condemnation, but when Sterling in a private phone conversation does the same thing, though admittedly in a completely casual and offhand way, he gets excoriated for it, as if he’d just kidnapped an entire village of Nigerian schoolgirls.

LashRambo on May 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

wife for sale

Is that legal?

faraway on May 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Mr. Cuban, you are not alone.

There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved…. After all we have been through. Just to think we can’t walk down our own streets, how humiliating. — Jesse Jackson, Nov 27, 1993.

unclesmrgol on May 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street,” he said. “And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face — white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere — I’m walking back to the other side of the street.”

That is not bigotry, it is called survival instinct,
and there is nothing racist about a human being just wanting to stay alive.

burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Watch Magic Johnson magically become the owner.

melle1228 on May 23, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Yes, that’s all this really was ever about. Taking Sterling’s property for a song and redistributing it to the disadvantaged folks like Magic and Oprah. Because, you know….RACISM. and Oprah’s purse-shopping humiliation or something.

MistyLane on May 23, 2014 at 2:15 PM

I went thru Diversity training in a corporate environment back in the mid ’90s when it was in vogue, and the lesson was simple: EVERYONE has prejudices; you just need to recognize them and manage them accordingly. I think that is all Cuban is saying. When you start to deny they exist, that’s when you get into trouble.

HornHiAceDeuce on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

That is not bigotry, it is called survival instinct,
and there is nothing racist about a human being just wanting to stay alive.

burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:15 PM

No kidding. Maybe he’s heard of a little something called polar bear hunting? The knock out game?

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

We’ve already established that if someone entraps you and secretly records what you say in a private conversation you lose your property rights.

Now we’re just playing out the consequences.

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

No kidding. Maybe he’s heard of a little something called polar bear hunting? The knock out game?

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Uh, yeah…

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Honest conversation indeed

cmsinaz on May 23, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Jessie Jackson of Hymietown fame was forced to sell his interests in breweries/bottlers and other ……
Oh wait, that never happened.

MistyLane on May 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

These days, the JakAzz is in the sillyCon valley , shaking down tech giants.
He did it to HP a few months ago, to google a few weeks ago ,
yesterday he held up Apple.

burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:22 PM

Ha, a guy named silver, is forcing a guy named Sterling to sell.

HugoDrax on May 23, 2014 at 2:23 PM

What kind of country do we have when SC judge Sotomayor can rail on and on about treating races differently in a written opinion of dozens of pages, and how important that is, and not a peep of condemnation, but when Sterling in a private phone conversation does the same thing, though admittedly in a completely casual and offhand way, he gets excoriated for it, as if he’d just kidnapped an entire village of Nigerian schoolgirls.

LashRambo on May 23, 2014 at 2:13 PM

An increasingly Communist one.

So much of what’s happening is from the playbook of “soft” Communism, after Stalin died, but things were still tyrannical.

Sure there are rich people. But there were corruptly rich people in the Soviet Union too.

What made the West better on that score was not millionaires but secure property rights for ordinary people against the state – the kind that existed before Kelo.

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Dead White Men

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM

What is the NBA’s case for demanding that Shelley Sterling sell the team? What charges do they have against her? Or is this a quiet deal between the Sterlings in order to facilitate their divorce settlement?

jwolf on May 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Maybe he’s heard of a little something called polar bear hunting? The knock out game?

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

I’ve always believed that Benghazi was just another knock out game for Hussein in which he managed to kill 4 white men and hurt even more. So is the VA which has killed 40 so far ( of which we know about ).

burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:36 PM

I went thru Diversity training in a corporate environment back in the mid ’90s when it was in vogue, and the lesson was simple: EVERYONE has prejudices; you just need to recognize them and manage them accordingly. I think that is all Cuban is saying. When you start to deny they exist, that’s when you get into trouble.

HornHiAceDeuce on May 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

I agree with you, but we’re both wrong.

According to liberals, they’re superhuman and don’t have prejudices, while conservatives don’t have prejudices–instead, they’re racists.

BuckeyeSam on May 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

I don’t think Sterling is surrendering, I think he is suffering from dementia.

NotCoach on May 23, 2014 at 2:38 PM

What is the NBA’s case for demanding that Shelley Sterling sell the team? What charges do they have against her? Or is this a quiet deal between the Sterlings in order to facilitate their divorce settlement?

jwolf on May 23, 2014 at 2:33 PM

Didn’t you hear? She’s married to someone who was called a racist.

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Yes, but Cuban mentioned black kids in hoodies. Racist!

Techster64 on May 23, 2014 at 2:43 PM

I hope one of her clauses is “anyone but Magic Johnson, in perpetuity. If Magic Johnson is ever found to have any interest in the team, the franchise reverts back to me and my heirs”

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 2:11 PM

That’s actually very accurate.

I explained from the start he didn’t have a case.

Sterling’s holdout was based on how far the Clippers were currently going to make it.

What was killing him, was after decades of a bum squad, he had a chance to be the Western Conference champs and make it to the Finals.

Once that imploded, he wanted out – under the condition Magic does not have any ownership interest.

So Shelly will abide by that, which is what the “outside investors” talk means – they’ll find someone they can agree to as buyers, not a league choice.

And they’ll get around 700 Mil. If they made it to the Finals, they were looking at near a Bil.

I understand the property rights crowd on HA, but you’re being played by the wealth and investor crowd.

A lot of these cats are con artists, big time. Sterling was also a slumlord scumbag who gamed the system.

But they love making perception, reality.

So all of them – in every sport – want people to kiss their arse and call them “owners” when it’s always been a crock. They are franchisee holders, nothing more.

MLB could have stripped Steinbrenner any day they wanted, but he won titles and spent like a lunatic which drew a national audience. So keeping him was best for business. Believe me, the NBA would strip Knicks ownership from the Dolan’s tonight, if not for their political and media family connections.

So all owners wanted to protect Sterling, by proxy to protect their image. Now, we all know they’re no different than they guy who owns a chain of fast food joints.

budfox on May 23, 2014 at 2:44 PM

For the trolls :
http://therightscoop.com/awesome-andrew-klavan-explains-why-democrats-call-you-racist/
burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:24 PM

Why can’t HotAir hire people like this?
http://therightscoop.com/awesome-andrew-klavan-explains-why-democrats-call-you-racist/

It would be great to have weekly conservative videos like this. It would be a return to this site’s roots.

Instead, we get “moderate,” non-conservative Establishment supporting types like Mary Katharine Ham, Guy Benson and Jazz Shaw.

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:45 PM

The bloggers here sometimes seem unwilling to speak bluntly about the disgusting racial double standard.

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

I understand the property rights crowd on HA, but you’re being played by the wealth and investor crowd.

budfox on May 23, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Maybe. I don’t understand this game (I don’t follow it), and you do.

But what I see, over and over, is people yelling “racist!” to get their way.

And it works. Over and over, regardless of who was right or wrong, or even who had property rights and what was in writing.

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Why can’t HotAir hire people like this?
http://therightscoop.com/awesome-andrew-klavan-explains-why-democrats-call-you-racist/

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Ed is the only bald beauty with brains Ed needs on HA
:O :O

burrata on May 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

We’ve already established that if someone entraps you and secretly records what you say in a private conversation you lose your property rights.

Now we’re just playing out the consequences.

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Yep. As someone mentioned on the other thread, read your HOA contract fine print from now on. You might say something racist and lose your house. That’s where this “thought control” and erosion of property rights agenda is headed.

Harbingeing on May 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

The bloggers here sometimes seem unwilling to speak bluntly about the disgusting racial double standard.

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-white.

Is that what you mean? If it is, I agree.

Over and over, white people get called “racist” for the same things non-whites do all the time and are not punished for. So the real crime is just being white.

“I’m proud of my race,” said the black man.
“I’m proud of my race,” said the brown man.
“I’m proud of my race,” said the Asian man.
“I’m proud of my race,” said the racist.

“Racist” = “white”.

And after someone is called a “racist” (which means a white), they lose their property rights, their right to justice, often their job, and their place in society and their right to be treated fairly.

If that’s not a racial double standard what is?

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 2:55 PM

The bloggers here sometimes seem unwilling to speak bluntly …

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

B!tch…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Yep. As someone mentioned on the other thread, read your HOA contract fine print from now on. You might say something racist and lose your house. That’s where this “thought control” and erosion of property rights agenda is headed.

Harbingeing on May 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

It doesn’t seem to matter if someone was dissing you racially either.

The most common racial put-down on Twitter is “white boy”. But don’t you dare call them “boy”. That would be RACIST!

David Blue on May 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie on my side of the street, I’ll move to the other side of the street. If I see a white guy with a shaved head and tattoos (on the side he now is on), I’ll move back to the other side of the street. None of us have pure thoughts; we all live in glass houses.” -Mark Cuban

Akzed on May 23, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Jesse Jackson said the same thing, basically.

WryTrvllr on May 23, 2014 at 3:05 PM

bluegill on May 23, 2014 at 2:47 PM

…B!tch…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

…preface that…with “you”.

KOOLAID2 on May 23, 2014 at 3:06 PM

unclesmrgol on May 23, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Ooops. sorry.

WryTrvllr on May 23, 2014 at 3:07 PM

…when does the NBA take up Mark Cuban’s ownership of the Dallas Mavericks?

The day after never. Cuban fills the fine coffer more than any other owner. He likes fines so much, he wanted one more before Stern left office and his wish was granted. Cuban matches every fine with a donation to charity, so he’ll probably get fined again and nothing more.

rukiddingme on May 23, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Please, if we must talk about the Crimes of Sterling, can we not post a photo of a random hot guy instead? My head hurts from the nonsense.

LetsBfrank on May 23, 2014 at 3:16 PM

The most common racial put-down on Twitter is “white boy”. But don’t you dare call them “boy”. That would be RACIST!…B!tch…!!!
May 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm David Blue

Context is everything. When I tell my husband he dances like a white boy, that’s not a racial slur. The study that found “white boy” to be the most commonly used racial put down on Twitter found that the overwhelming majority of such references were not used in a hateful or prejudicial way.

cam2 on May 23, 2014 at 3:20 PM

It’s the NBA- in terms of product quality and essentiality to life it ranks with Doritos, McDonald’s, Mountain Dew, KOOL cigarettes, and Chrysler automobiles.

M240H on May 23, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Someone probably sat down with him and showed him the clauses of the league charter that basically says if you don’t sell it after everyone votes that you have to then we’re just going to revoke the team from you and you get nothing.

Skipity on May 23, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Cuban lost respect by apologizing – especially to the money-grubbing parents of violent thug Trayvon Martin.

When a grieving mother trademarks her dead son’s image only a couple weeks after his death, well . . .

I don’t watch the NBA. Its major role in my life is displacing and/or delaying reruns on TNT. That’s a minor annoyance, but it is more interaction with the league than I care to have.

Adjoran on May 23, 2014 at 3:49 PM

The franchise was valued independently if I recall by Forbes at near $600 Million. If forced into a sale by the league, any amount below that amount it would seem would be the starting point in the ensuing lawsuit.

Quaere Verum on May 23, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Cuban apologized for what exactly. So anytime you mention hoodie and black you are offending t martin. What about Odumbo’s remark, “typical white person.”

rjoco1 on May 23, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Cuban forced to sell?

rjoco1 on May 23, 2014 at 4:11 PM

He stood to take a bath if he sold, so he’s finding a way around it.

5 will get you 10, when the dust settles, he comes out richer than anybody else in the deal.

formwiz on May 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM

He stood to take a bath if he sold, so he’s finding a way around it.

5 will get you 10, when the dust settles, he comes out richer than anybody else in the deal.

formwiz on May 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Yep. If he is able to avoid capital gains by declaring this a ‘forced sale’ he will make out like a Kennedy. It makes me wonder if the whole thing was planned.

slickwillie2001 on May 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Pretty smart move.

jimver on May 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Cuban apologized for what exactly. So anytime you mention hoodie and black you are offending t martin. What about Odumbo’s remark, “typical white person.”

rjoco1 on May 23, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Not to mention that if you go down that road, he ‘offended’ equally the ‘white bald men with tatoos all over’. was he ‘ordered’ by the vigilante left to apologize to them too?

jimver on May 23, 2014 at 4:29 PM

She was the real source for the scandal all along. Werk…

libfreeordie on May 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

She was the real source for the scandal all along. Werk…

libfreeordie on May 23, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Can you translate? I don’t speak jive.

:p

cptacek on May 23, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Dead White Men

Schadenfreude on May 23, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Thanks for sharing this, Shady!

(I’ve had a file on my desktop for some time named “Schadenfreude” which is dedicated to saving your valuable links.)

Gratitude here -WCM

Wing Chun Man on May 23, 2014 at 6:20 PM

Team owners and others in support of this persecution might want to re-think their support. How does that thing go……..When they came for the Clippers owner I didn’t say anything because I’m not the clippers owner. When they came for…..

Alabama Infidel on May 23, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Money beats staying power. Every time.

WryTrvllr on May 23, 2014 at 11:05 PM