A group of NBA owners took the first step towards ousting Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Thursday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine to Sterling, who was caught on tape making racist remarks, during a Tuesday press conference. Silver also pledged to work with the league's owners to force out Sterling as owner.
“I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force the sale of the team,” Silver said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens."
Acting on those instructions, the NBA's 10-member advisory/finance committee met via conference call on Thursday to "discuss the process for termination" of Sterling's ownership, according to a league spokesman.
"The Committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week,” a statement from the league office read.
A three-quarters majority vote of the league's owners -- 22 out of the other 29 owners -- is required to force out Sterling. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said he expects unanimous support from the NBA owners to oust Sterling.
Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday that while they are pleased with the term of the punishment handed down by Silver, they still believe Sterling must be removed as Clippers owner.
"We want maximum allowable punishment under the bylaws and constitution and what that equates to for us as players, there must be a change in ownership," said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is acting as an adviser for the NBPA.
"As players, we're very happy with the decision, but we're not content yet," NBPA vice president Roger Mason Jr. said. "We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners on when this vote is going to happen. We feel confident that with Adam Silver's urging, and we've heard from a lot of the owners around the league, we think this is something that can be handled quickly." Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, has not issued a formal statement since Silver handed down the lifetime ban. However, Sterling told a Fox News reporter on Tuesday, moments before Silver's press conference, that he was not planning to sell the team, which could be worth $1 billion.