Shelly Sterling would still have ties to Clippers after sale, details of deal show

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Shelly Sterling will not own any of the Clippers after she sells the team to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion, a sale that the NBA is working now to finalize.

But she would still have ties to the team, almost an “owner emeritus” status, reports the Associated Press.

The individuals, who are not authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press that the $2 billion deal allows for up to 10 percent of the team — or $200 million — to be spun off into a charitable foundation that Shelly Sterling would essentially run. The deal was negotiated by Shelly Sterling after husband Donald Sterling’s racist remarks to a girlfriend were publicized and the NBA moved to oust him as team owner.

One of the individuals said Shelly Sterling and Ballmer would be co-chairs of the foundation. The individuals said the foundation would target underprivileged families, battered women, minorities and inner city youths. “To benefit those on the receiving end of Donald’s rather abhorrent remarks,” one individual said.

Shelly Sterling was looking from the start to stay tied to the team, ideally through remaining a minority owner, but the league was never going to go for that.

This is a workaround. She runs the charitable organization tied to the Clippers, and in that way stays connected to the team without actually owning a piece of it.

Shelly and Donald Sterling both had their identities largely wrapped up in owning the Clippers — the media dining room before Clippers games was often full of their friends and hangers on, kissing their rings so to speak, in what some media members jokingly called “club Sterling.” It’s not that the Sterlings loved the Clippers, they loved owning the Clippers.

This way she gets to keep that.

After a firestorm that followed a leaked tape of prejudicial remarks by Donald Sterling, the league made moves to strip the Sterlings of ownership (they each owned 50 percent of the team through a family trust, although the league recognized Donald as the official, primary owner). Shelly Sterling, working with the league, had Donald declared incapacitated following medical tests, giving her full control of the trust, then she sold the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion (the Sterlings will clear an estimated $1.3 billion after taxes, he bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million). As part of the sale, the trust agreed to indemnify the NBA in any lawsuits brought by the sale — if Donald Sterling sues the league and wins the Sterling Trust has to pay his winnings. So he essentially is suing himself.

Donald Sterling said at one point he would sign off on the sale, but now is saying he may try to block it if the league does not lift its lifetime ban or rescind the $2.5 million fine levied against him.

Marreese Speights opts out of Clippers contract

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The Clippers are unraveling.

Of course, whether they can re-sign Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are the big questions. But they also must deal with smaller matters in free agency – like Marreese Speights.

Speights will opt out, his agent tweeted:

The Clippers will hold Speights’ Non-Bird Rights (technically a form of Bird Rights), allowing them to give him a starting salary up to $2,540,346 without using cap space or the mid-level exception.

The 29-year-old Speights, a stretch five who takes charges, fits the modern NBA. He could probably get more if he seeks it.

The Clippers won’t have cap space unless they lose Paul and Griffin, and at that point, re-signing a veteran like Speights is of little use. So, it would likely require the taxpayer mid-level exception or Speights taking a discount to keep him.

Luc Mbah a Moute can and likely will also opt out, and he’ll fall in the same Non-Bird situation. The Clippers would likely prioritize their mid-level exception for him – if it’s enough for either player.

Keeping Paul and Griffin is of the utmost importance, but that’s not the Clippers’ only challenge. Even if they keep those two stars, assembling even a decent supporting cast will difficult. Possibly losing J.J. Redick is the main issue there, but handling Speights’ and Mbah a Moute’s roster spots will also be pivotal.

Warriors struggle to get Zaza Pachulia’s 2017 NBA Finals hat on his big head (video)

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Zaza Pachulia became the villain of the Western Conference finals when he injured Kawhi Leonard and torpedoed the Spurs chances of upsetting the Warriors.

But his teammates stood by him – then shared this fun moment with him after Golden State won the West.

Reporter asks Spanish-speaking Manu Ginobili whether he just announced retirement (video)

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Manu Ginobili received an emotional sendoff in the Spurs’ season-ending – and maybe Ginobili’s career-ending – loss to the Warriors last night.

The postgame press conference featured a lighthearted moment when, after the Argentinian guard answered a couple questions in Spanish, an American reporter – not wanting to miss big news – asked whether Ginobili had just announced his retirement.

No, Ginobili assured the reporter. He says he plans to take a few weeks to consider his options.

Warriors make most dominant playoff run ever to NBA Finals

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Moses Malone famously predicted the 76ers team would go “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” in the 1983 playoffs, sweeping all three rounds in four games. Philadelphia didn’t quite do it – sweeping the Knicks, beating the Bucks in five then sweeping the Lakers for the title.

Thirty-four years later, an NBA team went “”Fo’, Fo’, Fo'” for the first time.

Golden State swept the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Spurs in four-game series. But with an extra playoff round, the Warriors’ 12-0 run merely gets them to the Finals.

It’s the ninth undefeated run to the Finals, third since the league adopted four playoff rounds in 1984 and first since the first round became best-of-seven. The Lakers went 11-0 in the playoffs en route to the Finals in 2001 and 1989.

By winning an extra game and outscoring opponents by 16.3 points per game, Golden State now claims the most dominant postseason run to the NBA Finals ever.

Here are the top paths to the Finals, with Finals results, by playoff…

Record (point difference per game in parentheses):

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Point difference per game (record in parentheses):

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This doesn’t guarantee Golden State a championship. The Cavaliers (10-1, +11.9) are on track for an elite run to the Finals themselves, and they have LeBron James.

But the Warriors put ridiculous expectations on themselves by signing Kevin Durant to join a 73-win team featuring Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. I’m unsure a Golden State title this year will be properly appreciated, but so far, the Warriors are doing all they can to clear a bar set unreasonably high.