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SBD/June 9, 2014/Franchises
Sterling Re-Brandishes Threat To Sue NBA After Silver Declines To Rescind Punishments
Published June 9, 2014
ROCHELLE'S FUTURE: In L.A., Rainey & Bresnahan cited sources as saying that Rochelle Sterling decided to sell the team last week in part because of a "novel arrangement that will make her 'owner emeritus' and fund a major foundation to serve the poor, minorities and battered spouses." She would "maintain a significant presence with the franchise, even though she is giving up her 50% stake." The new foundation would "be created and funded by the Clippers organization, with some of the details of the arrangement still to be finalized." She "is expected to become co-executive director of the organization, which does not yet have a name, along with Ballmer" (L.A. TIMES, 6/8). The AP's Tami Abdollah cited sources as saying that terms of the Clippers sale to Ballmer allow for up to 10% of the team -- or $200M -- to "be spun off into a charitable foundation that Shelly Sterling would essentially run." The idea "to allow Shelly to continue some role was floated early on by her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell ... and it was enthusiastically agreed to by the NBA." The NBA "made clear she wouldn't be involved with the basketball franchise" (AP, 6/7). However, Silver last night reiterated that she "will not own any stake in the Clippers and any charitable foundation she starts with profits from the sale will not be associated with the Clippers" (USA TODAY, 6/9).
BEHIND THE SALE: Ballmer said that Rochelle Sterling "seemed bittersweet about selling the basketball team but determined to see it go to a worthy successor." In L.A., James Rainey reported Ballmer "was charmed by her fervor for the Clippers." The day after Ballmer originally met with her, Lakers investor Patrick Soon-Shiong "visited the Sterling home." Former NBAer Grant Hill and Ares Management Chair & CEO Tony Ressler "had to wait their turn outside." One of the participants said, "It was like speed dating. I'm sure it was exhilarating to her to have the undivided attention of all these very important people." Those who visited "agreed: Shelly Sterling seemed calm and in control" (L.A. TIMES, 6/8).
AVOIDING A PRECEDENT: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins wrote Silver's "hasty and brilliant strategy was so crucial" because the Sterling issue "never came down to a vote of his fellow owners." They "didn't want to be the executioners, setting a dangerous precedent and opening windows of scrutiny into their own affairs." To say the "least, some of them are very relieved" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/8).