SBD/July 16, 2014/Franchises

Silver Unsure Sterlings Will Be Out As Clippers Owners Before Start To '14-15 Season

Silver said the NBA is doing everything in its power to remove Donald Sterling as an owner
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver yesterday said he cannot say with certainty that neither Donald nor Shelly Sterling will own the Clippers at the start of next season. Silver at the conclusion of the league's BOG meeting in Las Vegas said, “I can't say with certainty because it's in the hands of the probate court right now, and Donald is in the process of suing us for lots of money. I can say with certainty we are doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA, and as I said, if the probate ruling doesn't go in our favor, we'll recommence our procedures under termination. The only reason I say I can't say it with certainty, it's possible some court would step in and stop us. I think it's highly, highly unlikely because we are absolutely acting within our rights” (John Lombardo, Staff Writer). NBA.com's Steve Aschburner reported the league has "monitored the probate trial, to the point of having a lawyer in the courtroom reporting back regularly." Silver indicated that he believes "once the judge hears all the testimony, a ruling could follow quickly." However, "no end date currently is known." Silver said that people he has talked to "have been patient." Silver: "They understand it’s very difficult to say anything with certainty in a situation like this." He did admit that the league "had been open ... early in the process" to lessening Sterling's lifetime ban. Aschburner noted that would have been considered "to expedite the Clippers sale," but there was "no follow-through." Silver: “I never received any proposals" (NBA.com, 7/15).

IMPACT ON FREE AGENCY: In Boston, Gary Washburn reports free agency "has been difficult" for Clippers coach Doc Rivers, as he is the "lone representative for the organization" as the ownership status remains unresolved. It appears Rivers "enjoys being the front man" for the club, but he "desires a resolution to the Sterling issue." Rivers: "That’s hurt us some. You go in and talk to free agents, most of the teams are bringing in their owner. I go in looking (casual) by myself. I don’t know what affect that’s had but that’s not been great for us. The good news is even though there’s a lot of stuff with the court case, we’ve worked as a group. We haven’t stopped working” (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/16).
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