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article imageSterlings could be preparing to sell Clippers despite denials

By Nathan Salant     May 24, 2014 in Sports
Los Angeles - Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will turn his ownership stake in the team over to his estranged wife to allow her to sell the team to satisfy league demands, an unnamed insider said Friday.
Shelly Sterling has been negotiating with league officials for a couple of weeks in an effort to find a peaceful solution to her husband's battle with league officials who have barred him for life over a well-publicized racist rant, according to the Associated Press.
Donald Sterling had threatened to sue the National Basketball Association if he was forced out, but Commissioner Nate Silver, who ordered the ban, insists he has the votes needed to sustain his decision.
The Clippers franchise, which the Sterlings have owned for more than 30 years, is said to be worth as much as $100 million.
"Donald Sterling is out, and there will be new owners," the insider told the AP.
Shelly Sterling and her attorney declined comment on Friday, the AP said.
"She wants to be able to say, 'I'm selling the team, not the NBA is selling the team,' and have meaningful control over that transaction," the insider said.
The ban and a $2.5 million fine was ordered by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after a recording of Donald Sterling making racist comments about blacks was broadcast last month on TMZ.
Donald Sterling told a female friend not to bring blacks to Clippers games and specifically mentioned retired NBA star Magic Johnson.
The NBA formally alleged earlier this week that Donald Sterling had damaged the league and its teams with his comments, and that other conduct had damaged the NBA's relationship with fans and business partners, the AP said.
Under NBA rules, Donald Sterling has to respond to the charges by Tuesday and can appear June 3 at a hearing in New York to present his side of the dispute in front of other team owners and the league's Board of Governors.
Three-fourths of the league's 30 owners must vote to force the Sterlings to sell the Clippers.
Shelly Sterling owns 50 percent of the franchise by virtue of her marriage to Donald Sterling.
"She has no plans to sue the NBA -- she's trying to make nice," the insider said.
Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves team who chairs the governing board, is expected to preside over the June 3 hearing.
"We continue to follow the process set forth in the NBA Constitution regarding termination of the current ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers and are proceeding toward a hearing on this matter on June 3," league spokesman Mike Bass said Friday.
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