Updates from Monday, July 28
A resolution has been decided upon in Donald Sterling's attempt to challenge his wife Shelly's ability to sell the Los Angeles Clippers according to Sports Illustrated's Michael McCann:
Judge rules for Shelly Sterling and prevents Donald from appealing to keep team. Steve Ballmer will be next Clippers owner. Big win for NBA.— Michael McCann (@McCannSportsLaw) July 28, 2014
Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles reports on when Shelly expects the sale to go through:
Shelly Sterling and Steve Ballmer's lawyers said they expect the sale of the Clippers to go through by Aug. 15.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 28, 2014
Updates from Monday, July 21
ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne reports on a meeting today between Donald Sterling and Steve Ballmer:
Donald Sterling met today with Steve Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, sources told ESPN— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 21, 2014
No settlement was reached, but the two men had what a source described as "friendly" conversation about the pending $2 billion sale— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 21, 2014
This was the first face-to-face meeting between Ballmer and Donald Sterling since the May 29 sale, which he continues to challenge in court— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 21, 2014
Updates from Friday, July 18
Linda Deutsch of the Associated Press provides more information on the sale of the Clippers, via ABC News:
At a hearing to set parameters for the rest of a probate trial, attorney Adam Streisand implored the judge to make a swift decision when hearings conclude July 28.
He said the final deadline for closing the deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was extended by a month, but "the deal ends on Aug. 15."
A month later, the NBA can seize the team and sell it at auction, Streisand said.
Updates from Tuesday, July 15
Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times provides an update on the sale of the LA Clippers:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver could not guarantee the Clippers would have a new owner next season because of the possibility that the courts would not determine a clear owner of the team.
“No, I cannot say it with certainty,” Silver said Tuesday after the league’s board of governors met for four hours to discuss the Donald Sterling situation and other agenda items. “It’s in the hands of the probate court right now and he’s in the process of suing us for lots of money.
“And the only reason I can’t say it with certainty is it’s possible some court would step in and stop this thing. I think it is highly, highly unlikely because we are absolutely acting within our rights. I think what’s transpired in probate court so far has made it even clearer that we are acting not only within our rights but doing what is right and appropriate in this situation.”
Updates from Thursday, June 19
The Associated Press provided the latest in the legal situation surrounding the sale of the Clippers:
BREAKING: Judge rejects Shelly Sterling request for injunction against Donald Sterling and his lawyers.— The Associated Press (@AP) June 19, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 18
Shelly Sterling's next move will come Thursday, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Shelly Sterling will petition a court Thurs to keep Donald & his team from intimidating/harassing witnesses (the doctors who evaluated him)— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 19, 2014
Will be interesting to see what evidence Shelly presents. There wasn't a hearing scheduled until the 23rd, so this is a new development.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 19, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, June 11
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN has an update on the proceedings against Donald Sterling:
Donald Sterlings lawyer Bobby Samini says Shelly Sterlings motion to expedite hearing was denied, new hearing scheduled for July 7— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 11, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, June 10
David Aldridge of NBA.com reports on what will happen with the NBA's owner termination hearing against Donald Sterling if he were to win the $1 billion lawsuit:
If Donald Sterling does prevail in his $1B lawsuit against the NBA, I'm hearing it will reinstate the owner termination hearing against him.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 10, 2014
The hearing, originally scheduled for last week, was cancelled after Shelly Sterling consummated the $2B sale of the team to Steve Ballmer.— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) June 10, 2014
Meanwhile, Shelly Sterling is reacting swiftly to the news that her husband Donald still plans on suing, per Tami Abdollah of the Associated Press, via Yahoo Sports:
Shelly Sterling's attorney will be in probate court Wednesday to seek an emergency order for a hearing so a judge can confirm her authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, according to an individual familiar with the matter.
Donald's lawyer Max Blecher briefly spoke with Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA about the decision to proceed with the lawsuit and on his client's mental state:
Donald Sterling's lawyer Max Blecher tells ESPN if NBA had reached out to him a way to "restore some dignity" he might have changed his mind— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 11, 2014
Donald Sterling's lawyer Max Blecher says he thinks there's "about a 2 percent chance" a judge will find him mentally incompetent— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 11, 2014
Updates from Monday, June 9
Donald Sterling is not prepared to go down without a fight in the courtroom, according to ESPN LA's Ramona Shelburne:
The attorney for Donald Sterling, Max Blecher, says in an email, "the deal is off" and he's been instructed by DTS to pursue lawsuit vs NBA— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Source close to sale: "Nobody doubts this thing will go through in the end. It's just a matter of what mood Donald wakes up in tomorrow."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Source says, "this can be done the hard way or the easy way." It's now up to Donald whether he wants to challenge Shelly in probate court— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Another one of Sterling's lawyers, Bobby Samini, released a statement on Sterling's behalf:
Donald Sterling's lawyer Bobby Samini released a statement from his client: "From the onset I did not want to sell the Los Angeles Clippers"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Donald Sterling says "I am extremely sorry for the hurtful statements I made privately"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
DTS "While this is not an excuse for the statements, like every other American, I never imagined that my (they) would be made public."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
DTS "Action taken by Silver & NBA constitutes a violation of my rights and fly in the face of freedoms that are afforded to all Americans."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Donald Sterling "I have decided that I must fight to protect my rights"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
DTS "I love the team and have dedicated 33 years of my life to the organization. I intend to fight to keep the Team."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 10, 2014
Updates from Sunday, June 8
Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal has the latest development on Donald Sterling and a potential lawsuit against the NBA:
Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is considering going ahead with his lawsuit against the NBA in the wake of comments made by commissioner Adam Silver on Sunday night, according to his attorney.
But in an email to The Wall Street Journal late Sunday night, Blecher said that agreement was "based on an understanding which the NBA acknowledges was reasonable" that Sterling's lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine would be rescinded.
At a news conference before Game 2 of the Finals, Silver said, "There is absolutely no possibility that the lifetime ban will be rescinded or that the fine will be changed in any way." As a result, Blecher said Mr. Sterling is "ruminating" going ahead with the lawsuit and that "to my knowledge, no decision has yet been made."
Updates from Wednesday, June 4
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN LA has a major update on how Donald Sterling plans to move forward with the Clippers:
Blecher tells ESPN that Donald Sterling "agrees to sell and to drop lawsuit. NBA agrees to drop charges and to not sue him for anything."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 4, 2014
Donald Sterling's lawyer Max Blecher says he will not pursue further legal action, and has agreed to sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 4, 2014
Updates from Friday, May 30
CNN's Rachel Nichols provides the latest on the sale of the Clippers:
It's over. (We think) NBA accepts sale of Clippers along w/Shelly's promise to indemnify against lawsuits from Donald pic.twitter.com/cVQDSZa2aV— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) May 30, 2014
Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports the June 3 meeting has been cancelled as a result of the sale:
NBA cancels June 3 meeting on Sterling.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) May 30, 2014
Arash Markazi of ESPN passes along new owner Steve Ballmer's hopes for the Clippers:
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today provides a link to the lawsuit filed by Sterling:
That lawsuit filed by Donald Sterling can be viewed here: http://t.co/SOj2mvO9Jj— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) May 31, 2014
ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne has an update on Sterling's health:
Can confirm TMZ report that Sterling was diagnosed w/ Alzheimer's.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Earlier this month, he agreed to be examined by two neurologists. They diagnosed w/ Alzheimer's, said he's probably had for 3-5 years— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
This was known by Shelly Sterling and her advisers for some time, but it was not their first choice of action to make her the sole trustee— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Jeanie Buss welcomed Ballmer on behalf of the Buss family:
Updates from Thursday, May 29
After considerable buzz, ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne reports that the Sterling family has agreed to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer:
There is now a signed, binding agreement between Ballmer and the Sterling family trust to sell the Clippers for $2billion, ESPN has learned— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Ballmer's agreement will go straight to the NBA for final approval, source tells ESPN.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
In other words, the signed binding agreement btwn the Sterling family trust & Ballmer for $2b does not need another sign-off from Donald.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Shelburne reported more detail on the sale:
Espn has learned that experts had declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated, leaving Shelly as sole trustee & power to sell the team— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
The Sterling Family Trust had rules & guidelines about mental incapacitation. Very recently, Donald was found by experts to be incapacitated— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
Once that happened, Shelly became sole trustee and had power to do deal w/ Ballmer, which is now being sent directly to the NBA for approval— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
There could still be a response by Donald Sterling & his lawyers, but his first action would be to contest Shelly's move, not NBA now.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 30, 2014
USA Today's Brent Schrotenboer confirmed the report.
James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times first reported Ballmer had won the bidding for the Los Angeles Clippers:
Tech billionaire Steve Ballmer, who headed Microsoft for 14 years, has won bidding for the @LAClippers at a record $2 billion. Story soon.— James Rainey (@LATimesrainey) May 29, 2014
Rainey provides context for the bid amount:
The sale price is almost four times the highest previous NBA franchise sale price -- the $550 million paid earlier this month for the Milwaukee Bucks. It is second only to the Dodgers 2012 sale for $2.1 billion as the highest price for any sports team in North America.
Jared Dubin of Bloomberg News breaks down the numbers of the sale:
A $2 billion sale price for the Clippers would be a 248% mark-up on the $575 million Forbes valuation from January. Absurd.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) May 29, 2014
If you apply the Clippers mark-up to the Forbes valuations, the Knicks would be worth approximately $4.9 billion.— Jared Dubin (@JADubin5) May 29, 2014
ESPN's Darren Rovell adds more detail on the financial aspect:
Ballmer's $2B bid beats the Geffen/Ellison group by $400M, the Ressler/Karsh group by $800M.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 29, 2014
Dan Diamond of Forbes highlights an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which Ballmer details why he wouldn't elect to relocate the team to Seattle:
The forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers might end up going smoother than the NBA initially anticipated.
After NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gave team owner Donald Sterling a lifetime ban for racist comments he made, the owners were set to force a sale of the franchise. However, Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated reports that this might not be necessary:
According to sources, if Sterling presents the NBA with a completed agreement to sell the Clippers before Tuesday's meeting, and if the NBA has a "favorable impression" of both the dollar amount and the incoming owners, the league would postpone the hearing until it can formally vet the purchase, sale agreement and pending owners. If the NBA later approves the transaction, the Clippers would be sold and Sterling, along with his wife and co-owner, Shelly Sterling, would no longer have any affiliation with the NBA.
Sources tell SI.com that the NBA's top priority is for ownership to be transferred, and the league would welcome the exchange occurring voluntarily. A voluntary transfer would avert a potentially contentious hearing next Tuesday and, more importantly, avert the potential of Sterling filing a costly and lengthy lawsuit against the NBA and its owners.
CNBC's Sports Biz provides details on the current bids and an expected target date for the deal:
Source: Currently 3 serious major bidders for LA Clippers; Shelly Sterling's team working to get a deal done by Tues.; bids $1B to $2B.— Sports Biz (@CNBCSportsBiz) May 29, 2014
There have already been quite a few offers for the franchise, including from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Mike Ozanian of Forbes reports that the retired billionaire has already made an offer of $1.8 billion for the Los Angeles organization.
Ballmer was part of an investment group that attempted to purchase the Sacramento Kings in 2013 and move them to Seattle. The NBA's Board of Governors thwarted that effort, however, voting 22-8 to reject the group's bid and keep the team in Sacramento.
While some might speculate that Ballmer's purchase of the Clippers would lead to moving the franchise, ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi notes that this is extremely unlikely:
Clippers have a 10-year lease at Staples Center, one of the top arenas in the world. They've soldout 141 straight games. They're not moving.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) May 29, 2014
Still, Ballmer does have support in friend and current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll:
The Clippers would be so fortunate to get Steve Ballmer as owner. He's a great competitive force & would bring big energy to the LAC fanbase— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) May 28, 2014
ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne notes that he is the perceived leader to own the team:
Sources close to the process believe former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the current leader, but negotiations ongoing. The Don looms...— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 29, 2014
He is not alone in his wish to purchase the Clippers, however. According to Brian Todd and Steve Almasy of CNN, "There are as many as five bidders to buy the Los Angeles Clippers, with offers up to $2 billion."
Shelburne and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com noted the list of potential buyers includes some high-profile names, including one group with Oprah Winfrey and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Another features former NBA star Grant Hill.
It is clear that lack of interest will not be an issue when attempting to complete the sale.
The only thing holding it back is Sterling. While his wife, Shelly Sterling, appears willing to sell her share of the team, Donald remains intent on fighting the issue. His attorney, Max Blecher, explained to Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today:
Judging in terms of the punishment already imposed, and the Commissioner's current request, Mr. Sterling's offense is far and away the worst offense that any player, coach or owner has ever committed in the history of the NBA. In the past, the NBA has either punished offensive speech with a modest fine or ignored it.
While Silver's punishment is significant, he appears to have enough support to force Sterling out of his current position and complete a sale of the team.
No matter what happens, Sterling's willingness to comply with the sale remains an important issue to follow throughout the process.
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