Donald Sterling agrees to sell Clippers
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling agreed Wednesday to sign off on selling the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for what would be a record $2 billion, according to his attorney.
Sterling “has made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences” and as co-owner has given his consent to a deal that was negotiated by his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the team, said attorney Maxwell Blecher.
Representatives for Shelly Sterling declined to comment. The NBA declined to comment on Wednesday afternoon.
Donald Sterling filed a $1 billion suit against the NBA in federal court last week alleging the league violated his constitutional rights by relying on information from an “illegal” recording that publicized racist remarks he made to a girlfriend. It also says the league committed a breach of contract by fining Sterling $2.5 million and that it violated antitrust laws by trying to force a sale.
Blecher said the suit will be dismissed. If the NBA owners approve the sale, it will be a record-high sum for a team that cost Donald Sterling about $12 million in 1981. Blecher’s co-counsel, Bobby Samini, said the vote by league owners is expected to take place in mid-July.
Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill. Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling’s Malibu home last week and laid out his plan.
This is not Ballmer’s first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed a group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving the team to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.
But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Vivek Ranadive.
© 2014 The Canadian Press