Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 4, 2014 at 4:04 PM | Page modified June 5, 2014 at 7:21 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Attorney: Donald Sterling agrees to sell Clippers

Donald Sterling is leaving without a fight.


Associated Press

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
Woke up with a horse's head in his bed, but he agreed. MORE

advertising

LOS ANGELES —

Donald Sterling is leaving without a fight.

He is dropping his plans to sue the NBA, leaving only approval by the league's owners for Steve Ballmer to become the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sterling agreed Wednesday to sign off on the $2 billion sale to the former Microsoft CEO, bringing the possibility of a resolution to weeks of rumors, uncertainty and looming legal action.

The agreement hadn't been officially signed Wednesday afternoon, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations who wasn't authorized to discuss them publicly. But Donald Sterling's attorney, Maxwell Blecher, said he "has made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences." Sterling gave his consent to a deal that was negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the team, Blecher said.

Representatives for Shelly Sterling and the NBA declined to comment.

The agreement was an about face for Donald Sterling, who just last week filed a $1 billion suit against the NBA in federal court alleging the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an "illegal" recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also said the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale. Blecher said that as a result of the agreement, the federal suit will now be dropped.

Sterling's comments to V. Stiviano included telling her to not bring black people to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. They resulted in a storm of outrage from the public and players and even prompted President Barack Obama to comment on what he called Sterling's "incredibly offensive racist statements."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately decided to ban Donald Sterling for life and began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team.

For weeks, Donald Sterling said through his attorneys that he would fight the NBA's decisions to try to force his ouster as the team's owner. Then last week Shelly Sterling utilized her authority as sole trustee of The Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers, to take bids for the team and ultimately negotiate a deal with Ballmer.

Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill. Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home last week and laid out his plan. He could be approved quickly, given the league's familiarity with him.

If the NBA owners approve the sale, it will be a record sum for a team that cost Donald Sterling about $12 million in 1981. Blecher's co-counsel, Bobby Samini, said the vote by league owners is expected to take place in mid-July.

This is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed a group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving the team to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Vivek Ranadive.

___

Follow Tami Abdollah at http://www.twitter.com/latams



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►