Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to sell his team, according to numerous reports. Should the NBA force a sale of the team, Sterling would enable his wife to negotiate a sale.
The team could fetch a billion dollars, which would mean several hundred million in state and federal taxes. The taxes, and the prospect of life without the team he’s owned for more than three decades, initially prevented Sterling from accepting the idea of a sale. But the owner has allegedly reevaluated his situation in the wake of the unanimous stand of his fellow owners against him and the fallout from his disastrous interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in which he questioned the commitment of African Americans to their communities and intimated that Magic Johnson’s main accomplishment in life centered around contracting HIV.
A sticking point in the sale involves the share, if any, Shelly Sterling, retains in the team. The NBA wants a clean break from the Sterlings, but Shelly Sterling may not want to break from the Clippers, particularly given the tax penalties and long association with the franchise.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life on April 29 after recorded phone conversations between the billionaire owner and his half-century younger girlfriend surfaced in which he asked his mistress not to bring black people to his games or appear with them in pictures online. The NBA subsequently filed to force a sale, and Sterling has until next week to respond to charges. Rather than fight the league he once defeated in his quest to relocate the Clippers from San Diego to Los Angeles, Sterling appears resigned to move on from a league desperate to move on from him.