Donald Sterling Reportedly Agrees to Let His Estranged Wife Negotiate the Sale of the Clippers
It turns out the protracted legal battle everyone was expecting between the NBA and disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling might not happen after all—emphasis on might.
According to sources who have spoken with both TMZ and ESPN, Sterling has agreed to allow his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, to negotiate a forced sale of the team. This constitutes some serious progress.
However, that does not mean that everything is going to go down without a hitch. The one thing we know for sure is that Shelly Sterling and the NBA both want the team to be sold. What we don’t know is how it’s going to play out. Word has it that Shelly does not want it to be a forced sale. Instead, she wants it to be a voluntary sale in which she calls the shots. Moreover, apparently she may want to keep a slice of the team for herself.
In the eyes of the NBA, this is a problem. They want 100% of the team sold, and they have not approved the transfer of team control to Shelly Sterling. In theory, if she does agree to sell 100% of the team, then the league might permit her to take control as means to a desirable end. However, if she wants to keep a slice, or if she pulls any other b.s. to stall, they might force the sale.
Meanwhile, Shelly supposedly intends to sue the NBA if they vote to force a sale, because apparently she’s worried about having to pay $300 million in capital gains taxes on a potential $1 billion sale (you know, because a $600 million profit isn’t very much). So basically what we have here is a game of chicken. The NBA and Shelly Sterling are driving right at one another, with each waiting for the other to swerve first.
Of course, the NBA is driving a tank and Sterling is driving a Mazda Miata, so ultimately the league is going to win. But it might take some carnage to get there.