*ESPN and TMZ are reporting that disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate a forced sale of the team.
Shelly Sterling and her lawyers have been negotiating with the NBA since her husband was banned for life by commissioner Adam Silver on April 29, according to ESPN. While the league has yet to formally accept this arrangement, sources said if she is willing to sell the team in its entirety, this could bring a startlingly quick end to what appeared to be a protracted legal battle.
The NBA filed charges to terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers this week. He had five business days — until next Tuesday — to respond to the charges. A hearing was set for June 3 in New York, with a vote of the board of governors to take place thereafter.
Sterling’s lawyer, Max Blecher, responded to the charges by asking for a three-month delay. That request was immediately turned down by the NBA, sources said.
Blecher indicated in his email to the NBA that Sterling intended to fight the charges and the move to terminate his ownership, saying he did not believe he’d done anything to deserve such punishment.
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.
NBA rules, however, prevent him from transferring a controlling interest in the team to anyone. A new controlling owner would need to be approved by the board of governors, and Shelly Sterling would not be approved.