A deal to sell the Clippers has reportedly been made without Donald Sterling's consent. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)
Clippers owner Donald Sterling was recently declared "mentally incapacitated" by experts, according to ESPN.com. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reports the disgraced Clippers owner was ruled mentally unfit to negotiate the sale of the team, leading his wife, Shelly, to be declared the sole trustee of the family's trust. On Thursday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly signed a $2 billion agreement to buy the Clippers from the Sterlings. The bid will be submitted to the NBA for final approval, but does not need confirmation from Donald Sterling due to his mental condition.
The signed deal with Ballmer still does not indicate a final sale of the Clippers. The league and its owners still have to approve the deal, and there is always a chance Donald Sterling challenges his wife's decision in court.
SI.com’s Michael McCann reported Thursday that the NBA could fast track the sale of the Clippers if it has a "favorable impression” about a prospective owner. Ballmer would seem to fit the criteria, having made a record offer and being previously vetted by the NBA in an attempt to buy the Kings. McCann also reports that the league could postpone Tuesday’s owners meeting, which is set to hold a vote on the ousting of Clippers owner Donald Sterling. From McCann:
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.
Sterling, 80, has owned the Clippers for 33 years, making him the NBA's longest-tenured owner. But the NBA recently initiated a charge to terminate his ownership, outlining a list of actions that have have "damaged and continue to damage the NBA and its teams" while also listing off a series of negative impacts on the league. The NBA is taking issue with Sterling for the following reasons:
- Disparaging African-Americans and minorities.
- Directing a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games.
- Criticizing African-Americans for not supporting their communities.
The first two items relate to comments made by Sterling to his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, in a private tape that was released by TMZ. The third item relates to comments made during an interview with CNN this month. The NBA is listing the following impacts of Sterling's comments and behavior:
- Significantly undermining the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.
- Damaging the NBA’s relationship with its fans.
- Harming NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel.
- Impairing the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders.
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