Multiple agents for NBA players said their clients won't go to the Clippers this summer if embattled team owner Donald Sterling still has a stake in the team.
In a report Monday from Sean Deveney from The Sporting News, one agent said he knows his players won't go to play for Sterling because they don't want to help "that guy make even one dime."
"...I know I have players who just won’t go there now, not until Sterling is gone completely. If there is even a chance that you’re going to help that guy make even one dime, a lot of guys are not going to go play there. It is going to be something they will have to deal with when July comes around.”
Free agency begins July 1, when teams can officially begin negotiating and recruiting other players. Whether that happens with the Clippers remains to be seen, as the agent said "the damage has been done" and that the team will be crossed off as an option by many players in the league when they look toward the free agency market.
"I can tell you that there are players who will cross them off the list before free agency even starts. This was really personal for some guys, and I mean guys who are not Clippers or never been Clippers. It’s just hard and not everyone is going to want to walk into that situation. The damage has been done.”
LeBron James said this past weekend that it's the players' position that no-one from the Sterling family should own the team. His comments come as Sterling's wife, Shelly, works toward divorcing her billionaire husband and will look to transfer ownership to herself if three-fourths of the NBA team owners force him to sell.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass said that "all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well" if Sterling is force to sell, including anyone related to him, as per the NBA contract Sterling signed when he purchased the team for $12.5 million in 1981. Forbes estimates the Clippers franchise to be worth approximately $575 million this year. Shelly's attorney fired back at the NBA on Sunday night, claiming that U.S. and California laws trump any contracts set forth by the league. SI WIRE: Charles Barkley responds to criticism over fat jokes