Sterling, 80, sued the NBA and Silver on May 30 seeking at least
$1 billion in damages just as the league tentatively approved a deal
by his estranged wife, co-owner of the franchise, to sell the club
to former Microsoft Corp chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Days later, Sterling's lawyer, Max Blecher, said his client had
agreed to the sale and would withdraw the lawsuit. But Silver said
the case was still pending and was holding up a final disposition of
"We're almost there. There is this last piece, and that is the
lawsuit that Donald brought against the League and me personally,"
Silver told reporters before Game 2 of the NBA Finals in San
In an email, Blecher told Reuters that no decision had been made on
the lawsuit and all options were under consideration.
At a news conference before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Silver said
there was "absolutely no possibility" of rescinding the lifetime ban
or the $2.5-million fine he handed down to Sterling following his
Sterling was banned for life from the NBA in April after a tape
recording of disparaging remarks he made about black people was
leaked to the celebrity news website TMZ.com, igniting an uproar
among fans, players and commercial sponsors of his team.
The NBA commissioner also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the league's
maximum monetary penalty, and urged its 29 other team owners to take
the unprecedented step of forcing Sterling to sell the Clippers,
which he bought in 1981 for $12.5 million.
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After first threatening not to relinquish the team without a fight,
Sterling ceded a controlling interest in the team to his wife,
Shelly, who was already a 50-percent co-owner through a family
trust, for the purpose of negotiating a sale.
After she struck a deal to sell the Clippers to Ballmer for a league
record $2 billion, Sterling sued the NBA, seeking, among other
things, to recoup the capital gains taxes he would have to pay,
though Blecher later said the lawsuit would be dropped.
"I have absolute confidence it will be resolved because as part of
the sale agreement with Shelly Sterling, she agreed to indemnify the
league against a lawsuit by her husband. So in essence, Donald is
suing himself and he knows that. While I understand he is
frustrated, I think it's over," Silver said.
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