Donald Sterling agrees to sell the Clippers

The banned-for-life NBA owner gives estranged wife Shelly Sterling the OK to negotiate a forced sale of the team

Topics: donald sterling, clippers, shelly sterling, NBA, Racism, Adam Silver, Basketball, ,

Donald Sterling agrees to sell the ClippersDonald Sterling, interviewed by Anderson Cooper, May 12, 2014. (Credit: CNN)

Donald Sterling has agreed to let estranged wife Shelly Sterling negotiate a forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, according to ESPN. ESPN Los Angeles’ Ramona Shelburne tweeted:

Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA, by commissioner Adam Silver on April 29, after several tapes of Sterling making terribly racist comments were released to TMZ and Deadspin during the weekend prior. Ever since Silver announced this ban, a maximum fine of $2.5 million and a forced sale, there has been a legal tussle over the ownership of the team.

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Earlier this week, the NBA filed charges to end Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers, and according to ESPN, he was given until next Tuesday to respond to the charges. There is a hearing set in New York for June 3.

Sterling’s lawyer Max Blecher originally responded to these charges asking for a three-month delay, which was denied. Blecher also stated in an email to the NBA that Sterling would fight the charges.

Now less than a week later, ESPN is reporting: “But a source said that over the course of this week, Sterling has rethought his position and formally agreed to allow Shelly — an alternate governor of the team — to negotiate a sale.”

If Shelly Sterling agrees to a full sale, this could bring a swift and easy end to the brewing legal battle over the Clippers ownership. Previously Shelly Sterling has stated that she would keep her 50 percent stake in the team, but ESPN is reporting that she would like to end this situation “amicably.”

Meanwhile many celebrities, such as Magic Johnson and Oprah, have hinted at buying the Clippers, and there is an Indiegogo campaign started by Arsenio Hall to purchase the team. Last week, it was reported that Miami Heat player and NBA Union V.P. LeBron James told Rodger Mason Jr. that “he ain’t playing if Sterling is still the owner.”

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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