As with all things Donald Sterling, we start with this cautionary note: Take everything he and his people say with a grain of salt. Actually, a five-pound bag of the stuff. The smart move is to assume everything is a stalling tactic or an effort to somehow gain some measure of control over what is going on.
But on the day Sterling has to answer the NBA’s charges against him in the league’s effort to force a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, his attorney dropped this, via NBC’s Los Angeles.
While there has been buzz that with all the big names involved in the bidding the price was going to get north of $1.5 billion and up to $2 billion, this is still an eye-popping number.
Again, if I were cynical I would say this was an effort from Sterling’s attorney to slow the league’s process down and maintain control as his wife Shelly tries to sell the team. The old dazzle them with big numbers trick.
Actually, I am cynical about this, I think that is what is going on.
I also know the league is not slowing down its effort.
In the wake of the fallout from a leaked recording of Donald Sterling saying very prejudiced things — and sponsors pulling out as a result — the NBA started the process to remove him as owner of the Clippers. The league presented formal charges against Sterling last week and through their constitutional process — something Sterling and his wife agreed to and signed off on more than once — he has until Tuesday midnight to respond.
On June 3 there will be a Board of Governors meeting (the other 29 owners) where Sterling and his attorney can make their case, and the league will present its case. After that, if three quarters of the owners vote to remove Sterling he is gone, as is any other owner of the team — in this case his wife Shelly Sterling. At that point the league would take control of the franchise and sell the team through a blind bid process (Sterling would get the money from that sale, minus any fines and league expenses).
The league is not slowing down. No matter how much money Sterling’s attorney says is being offered — the league would get that same offer when it sold the team.