Earlier today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would begin trying to pry the Clippers free from the ownership of Donald Sterling. Although Sterling is now banned for life from the league, he is still the legal owner of the Clippers franchise. When Silver spoke on trying to force a sale of the Clippers, he said "I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him."
This process might drag on for a while, though, as Sterling reportedly has no interest in selling the team right now.
Fox News contributor Jim Gray spoke to Sterling yesterday, and reports the banned Clippers owner has every intention of holding on to his team.
"He really didn't want to comment on the record," said Gray. "However, the team is not for sale and he will not be selling the team."
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Gray failed to mention in the above quote that the NBA can legitimately force Sterling to give up the team. The Clippers, like every other NBA team, are not an independent business. They’re a franchise that is a part of the NBA. Accordingly, the league’s constitution has rules in place that let NBA owners oust someone who is not acting in the best interest of the league – like Sterling.
In order to force a sale of the Clippers, the owners of the league will have to hold a vote. If 75% of the owners support a forced sale of the Clippers, the motion will pass and the bidding process would open up to prospective buyers.
If Sterling plays hardball and refuses to sell the team on his own accord, you can bet the owners will pass this motion and force a sale. Besides the fact that it’s the right thing to do, none of these owners are about to let their pockets shrink from letting Sterling hang around for even a second longer than they have to.
When the bidding war for the Clippers does inevitably begin, the team is expected to sell for over $1 billion.