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.”
The NBA announced on Friday afternoon that the league, Shelly Sterling and Sterling Family Trust reached an agreement that would ensure former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to purchase the franchise for $2 billion. The league also canceled a meeting scheduled for June 3 in which the Board of Governors planned to hold a vote on Sterling’s ouster. The NBA has said it would have needed at least 23 of the 30 NBA owners to rule in favor of Sterling having his ownership removed. The NBA had also issued him a life-time ban and a $2.5 million fine, a league source adding Donald Sterling must either pay in full or have it deducted through the sale.
The NBA does not currently have a date set for when the Board of Governors would approve Ballmer to become the Clippers owner, which would also require a 3/4 approval. But a league source estimates it will take place within “weeks.”
The league source also familiar with the NBA’s proceedings also maintained that Shelly Sterling “sold 100 percent of the team” and “has no equity with the team” other than having an unspecified number of tickets and parking spots to Clippers games as well as a table in the Chairman’s room.