Culture of Hoops

Can the NBA rid itself of Donald Sterling before the 2014-15 season?

Image courtesy of Zennie Abraham/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Zennie Abraham/Flickr.

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Since Donald Sterling was already banned by the NBA for life for making racist remarks and insults, he must and should be out and gone as the Los Angeles Clippers owner before next season. Many believe that this must happen in an instant and he should really step down and be punished for his words that created chaos around the league.

But technically speaking, this won’t happen anytime soon. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Donald Sterling might still remain as the owner of Clippers by start of season.

“It’s very difficult to say anything with certainty in a situation like this,” he said after the NBA Board of Governors meeting. “I can say with certainty we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA.”

With those words alone, you can sense that Donald Sterling is fighting and doing everything he can to remain the Clippers owner. From abrupt changes of plans up to courtroom delays, Donald Sterling’s camp is really in fighting mode.

Donald Sterling is also challenging his wife’s, Shelly Sterling, planned sale of the Clippers for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in court. Donald Sterling contends that Shelly has no full rights and power, under a family trust that owns the Clippers, to single-handedly sell the team.  This challenge alone will take months of court hearings, not to mention the unusual delays that the proceedings might get from time to time.

According to Adam Silver:

“We’re in essence on hold since that sale is being challenged by her husband as to whether she has the right. If the court finds in her favor, the sale will move forward. If not, we will move forward with our own proceedings.”

The planned timeline of said proceedings (sale of Clippers to Steve Balmer) and approval was supposed to happen last week, but because of this court challenge by Donald Sterling, all schedules, including approvals and signings, were pushed.

The pressure for the NBA, especially for commissioner Adam Silver, to put down Donald Sterling as Clippers owner is at a high level right now. Just recently, Doc Rivers said he will quit (it’s not clear if he is quitting the NBA or quitting as Clippers coach) if Donald Sterling remains a team owner.

According to Clippers Interim CEO Richard Parsons, “Doc is troubled by this maybe more so than anybody else. If Mr. Sterling continues as owner, he does not want to continue as coach.”

In a recent court hearing, Richard Parsons also stated that some major players and superstars might not play if Sterling stays with the Clippers. One of the most notable names that came out is Clippers team captain Chris Paul, who heads the NBA players union.

Donald Sterling must be kicked out of the league for life before the next season starts, no matter what it takes.

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