SBD/May 15, 2014/Franchises

Donald, Rochelle Sterling Going Through Divorce, Which Could Hinder Sale Of Clippers

A Sterling divorce could complicate the NBA's efforts to sell the Clippers
Clippers Owner Donald Sterling and his wife, Rochelle, are "in the process of divorcing" in the wake of the scandal surrounding his racist comments, according to Shelby Grad of the L.A. TIMES. Donald Sterling said of his wife, "The poor girl; I don't know how she can live and deal with this. Thank God she has wonderful attorneys -- wonderful -- and they will protect her." He added, "If for some reason I can't have the team, I think she should have her interest. I mean, she didn't do anything. I brought this all on her" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15). USA TODAY's Brent Schrotenboer cites a source as saying that Rochelle Sterling has "signed her divorce papers but is holding off on filing them against her husband Donald, partly because her camp knows that proceeding could disrupt the situation" surrounding the potential sale of the team. That "might be her strongest leverage against the league -- a nuclear option that could place the Clippers under the jurisdiction of a California divorce court and delay any sale of the team indefinitely." A decision by either Sterling to move forward with a divorce immediately could "make it difficult for the NBA to force a sale of the franchise." In the case of divorce, the couple's "many assets, including the Clippers, could be subject to a temporary restraining order by the court as the couple tries to divide their community property and reach a resolution about who gets what, a situation that sometimes takes years" (USA TODAY, 5/15). SI.com's Michael McCann continues to look at legal options and wrote under the header, "How The NBA Can Keep Both Sterlings Away From The Clippers" (SI.com, 5/14). 

CHECK, MATE: Heat F LeBron James said the NBA is progressing "good enough for now" to remove Donald Sterling as Clippers Owner. James: "At the end of the day, we see what [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver is doing, and he's moving forward. And if he continues, which we believe Adam Silver will do on the situation, then us players have nothing to worry about" (ESPNLA.com, 5/14). In Miami, Barry Jackson notes NBPA First VP Roger Mason Jr. yesterday "essentially retracted his comment from a day earlier" that James told him he would "boycott the start of next season" if Sterling still owned the Clippers. Mason tweeted, "LBJ never said anything about boycotting. He’s a friend and I would never want to imply something he didn’t say. ... My bad if I was not clear.” James said, "Roger’s a great guy. I don’t have a problem with him at all.” James added the "fact we have to continue to talk about (Sterling) sucks" (MIAMI HERALD, 5/15). In West Palm Beach, Jason Lieser writes James "has been the most outspoken player in the league" on the Sterling scandal (PALM BEACH POST, 5/15). Heat G James Jones, the team's NBPA rep, said that he "feels no boycott will take place." Jones: "However this thing plays out, it will play out the way that we all agree, which is to have Donald Sterling no longer being an owner of an NBA franchise" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 5/15). 
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