SBD/May 6, 2014/Franchises

Clippers' Sterling Rounding Up Lawyers To Counter NBA, Could Score Tax Benefits In Sale

Donald Sterling (r) has reached out to several law firms
Banned Clippers Owner Donald Sterling is "reportedly shopping for lawyers to swat back at the NBA," according to Nancy Dillon of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. TMZ Sports yesterday report that Sterling has "reached out to several law firms," including L.A.-based Glaser Weil, to build a legal team. Glaser Weil attorney Patty Glaser has repped "other big-name clients, including Conan O’Brian in his exit from NBC and Keith Olbermann in his fight with Current TV." The firm also recently "helped defend Paula Deen in a racially charged employment discrimination case." The report stated that Sterling also "contacted the firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan to discuss retainment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/6). In N.Y., David Li reports Sterling could "score huge tax benefits if the NBA carries through with its threat of forcing him to sell the team." A federal tax provision "calls for a special allowance for anyone who has 'involuntarily converted' assets." This section is "usually cited by people who lose property to a natural disaster or under eminent domain." However, Sterling to "completely skate tax-free" would have to "reinvest all the proceeds into a 'like-kind' venture -- such as another NBA team, or possibly another sport’s team or entertainment venture -- within two years" (N.Y. POST, 5/6).

TRAVELING SHOW? In California, Lauren Williams reports Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson "danced around the question of whether or not he is interested in buying" the Clippers at a talk given at Cal State Long Beach Monday, "saying only that he is a Laker and has heard from other interested investors who want to partner with him" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/6). Meanwhile, in L.A., Jill Cowan reports State Assembly candidate Karina Onofre is "proposing that a coalition of business owners, politicians and religious leaders approach" the Clippers about "leaving the L.A. market and making a fresh start in Orange County, perhaps at the Great Park." She "presented no immediate plan for who would pay for an arena." Orange County has "tried and failed repeatedly in its efforts to lure an NBA team, even with the prospect of playing at the visitor-friendly Honda Center in Anaheim." The Great Park is "one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate in Southern California" (L.A. TIMES, 5/6).

PEER REVIEW: In California, Robert Morales reports Clippers players are "not the only ones" to sing Clippers coach Doc Rivers' praises. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, "Doc handled that as well as any coach in the league could have possibly handled a tough situation. He not only represented the Los Angeles Clippers and his players well, but represented the other 29 teams well. I’m proud of what he did and what the players did, what he stood for" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 5/6). CBS Sports Network’s Jim Rome said Rivers is "one of the best leaders in all of sports and while the owner is a bad guy, the Clippers are still alive because the coach would not let them die” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 5/5).
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NBA, Los Angeles Clippers, Franchises

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