NBA calls Donald Sterling’s lawsuit “entirely baseless”

The NBA scoffed at Clippers embattled owner Donald Sterling planning to sue them for $1 billion in damages.

“Mr. Sterling’s lawsuit is predictable, but entirely baseless,” NBA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Rick Buchanan said in a statement to this newspaper. “Among other infirmities, there was no “forced sale” of his team by the NBA – which means his antitrust and conversion claims are completely invalid. Since it was his wife Shelly Sterling, and not the NBA, that has entered into an agreement to sell the Clippers, Mr. Sterling is complaining about a set of facts that doesn’t even exist.”
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NBA settles dispute over Clippers, cancels meeting to terminate Donald Sterling

The NBA announced Friday that it has resolved a dispute over ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, and withdrawn the pending charge to terminate Sterlings’ ownership.

The league reached the agreement with Donald Sterling’s wife Shelly, and the Sterling Family Trust which owns the franchise. Shelly as the sole trustee in selling the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on Thursday for $2 billion, which still needs to be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

A previously scheduled June 3 meeting to terminate Donald Sterling’s ownership has been cancelled.

Donald Sterling’s attorney Maxwell Blecher, said earlier Friday afternoon that his client intends to sue the NBA for $1 billion in damages. Blecher has not yet responded for further comment since the NBA’s latest announcement.

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Donald Sterling will sue the NBA for $1 billion

Even as his franchise steps toward a new regime, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling plans to sue the NBA for $1 billion in damages.

Attorney Maxwell Blecher confirmed that his client intends to file suit against the league, as first reported by NBC News. Sterling’s wife, Shelly, agreed Thursday to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion after reportedly having her husband declared mentally incapacitated. She in turn claimed full control of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers.

The league has not yet approved the sale of the Clippers, and is proceeding with a June 3 hearing to oust Donald Sterling. Commissioner Adam Silver has maintained that the preferred outcome is a voluntary sale.

Sterling is seeking damages for the lifetime ban the NBA handed him last month and his termination charges.

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Chris Paul has nothing but upside on his side, so next season should be interesting

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Photo by the Denver Post

Point guard Chris Paul has now been in the NBA for nine seasons. But he’s never made it past the second round of the playoffs, and that is something he said during this recently concluded post-season that he really wants.

With that in mind, let’s examine the 2013-14 campaign he put together. Paul averaged 19.1 points, a league-high 10.7 assists and a league-high 2.48 steals. Not a darn thing wrong with any of those numbers, even though none represents a personal best. With scoring machines like Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford around, it would have been difficult for Paul to surpass his highest scoring season of 22.8 set in 2008-09 with the New Orleans Hornets.

If anything, the one thing Paul showed that may have been somewhat surprising is that – gasp – he’s human. In 62 regular-season games – he missed 20 games because of injury – he had the league’s best assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.57.

During the first four games of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City, Paul had committed just six turnovers while doling out 46 assists. But in Game 5 at Oklahoma City, he had a very uncharacteristic five turnovers – two down the stretch that played a big role in his team losing the game after it led by 13 points with just over four minutes to play and by seven with 49.2 seconds left.

Paul and the Clippers were not able to rebound from that, and lost the series in Game 6 at Staples Center.

Since Paul doesn’t really have to improve upon any particular part of his game, all he really has to do moving forward to next season is forget about what he called the toughest moment of his basketball life in the Game 5 post-game news conference.

If Paul can do that – and the feeling here is he will – he will be able to use that experience as a springboard toward the success he and every other NBA player wants to reach – the NBA Finals.

Paul is under contract with the Clippers through the 2017-18 season, so he’s not going anywhere. He will make $20,068,563 in 2014-15.

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NBA’s hearing on June 3 on Donald Sterling remains intact

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Monday, July 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, Monday, July 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer agreed to buy the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. The sale may have brought some relative clarity as the Clippers went through uncertainty in the past month amid embattled owner Donald Sterling making racially insensitive comments on an audio tape that earned him a life-time ban and a $2.5 million fine. Ballmer’s record-setting purchase may have skyrocketed the value of NBA franchises elsewhere.

But much work still needs to be done. The first step: the NBA revealed in a statement that it still must approve the sale. The league will also still have a meeting on June 3 in New York in which the Board of Governor’s will have to have a 3/4 vote to strip Sterling of his ownership.”

“Commissioner Silver has consistently said the preferred outcome to the Clippers proceeding would be a voluntary sale of the team,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement. “Shelly Sterling advised the NBA last night that an agreement had been reached with Steve Ballmer, and the NBA Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call this morning to discuss these developments. We await the submission of necessary documentation from Mrs. Sterling. In the meantime, the June 3 special meeting of the NBA Board of Governors remains as scheduled.”

The league vetted Ballmer last year during his unsuccessful attempt to buy the Sacramento Kings. But NBA officials have not returned repeated phone calls and e-mails for comment, including how much of a process this will take place.

Still, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said prior to the draft lottery last week that he would welcome Sterling selling the team before such a hearing in hopes that it would avoid both a lengthy and costly litigation case. Still, numerous league sources have said that process could happen only certain circumstances.

One, the Sterlings would have to sell entire team and have no interest stakes whatsoever. While Shelly Sterling has voiced approval about the NBA forcing a sale, she has maintained she is still entitled to her 50 percent ownership stake. The NBA will not approve such a scenario.

Two, the Sterlings would have to mutually agree on the sale. Though numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, have indicated the agreement was co-signed both by Ballmer and Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Maxwell Blecher, had indicated he will fight the sale. What complicates this issue is that Donald Sterling originally provided written consent on transferring ownership to Shelly with intentions to sell the team. ESPN has also reported experts have declared Donald Sterling mentally incapacitated, leaving Shelly Sterling as the sole trustee with the power to sell the team. The NBA will still want clarity on if Donald feels the same way.

There are likely more variables to weigh considering Ballmer’s involvement and evolving developments surrounding the Sterlings.


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Follow L.A. Daily News’ Mark Medina on Twitter and on Facebook. E-mail him at mark.medina@langnews.com

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Shelly Sterling announces $2 billion sale of Clippers to Steve Ballmer

Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling has announced the franchise’s $2 billion sale to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The record-setting transaction was signed by Ballmer and Sterling Thursday evening, but both parties remained mum until releasing statements late that night.

Shelly Sterling said in the release that she was acting as the sole trustee of the Sterling Family Trust, which owns the Clippers. ESPN reported that experts had recently declared co-owner Donald Sterling to be “mentally incapacitated,” transferring power over the team to Shelly under the rules of the trust.

“I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner,” Shelly Sterling said. “We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success.” Continue reading

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Jamal Crawford doesn’t want to speak on possible sale to Steve Ballmer until it is official

No sooner did the news hit Thursday that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer would likely be the Clippers’ new owner pending NBA approval of his $2 billion bid to buy the team, did it become know that guard Jamal Crawford and Ballmer know each other.

We got a hold of Crawford through an exchange of direct messages on Twitter on Thursday night. He didn’t want to say much just yet, however.

“Hearing about the news, but don’t wanna speak on it until everything is official if that happens,” Crawford wrote.

Fair enough.

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L.A. Times reporting Steve Ballmer to purchase Clippers for $2 billion

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has won a bidding war to purchase the Clippers for $2 billion.

The Los Angeles News Group hasn’t confirmed the report and there are many steps before any sale is final. Following the Times’ report, Donald Sterling’s attorney Max Blecher, in an email, told our reporter Jack Wang : “He is resisting and will resist any sale of the team forced by the NBA.”

Any sale still must be approved by the NBA Board of Governors.

We will update as more information becomes available.

L.A. Times story

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