Report: Clippers owner Donald Sterling signed moral and ethical contracts with the NBA over the years

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Clippers owner Donald Sterling is reportedly on the hunt for a law firm that will take on the task of suing the NBA, in hopes of preventing the league from forcing Sterling to sell the team following his lifetime ban that was issued by commissioner Adam Silver.

Silver acted about as swiftly and strongly as possible in taking action, and given the fact that the Sterling situation was becoming a national news story threatening to be all-encompassing for the league just as the postseason was underway, he didn’t seem to have much of a choice.

But Silver is extremely intelligent about both matters of business and the law, and wouldn’t have dropped the hammer this hard unless he felt confident that there was plenty of legal ground to stand on. And it appears that in addition to the league’s constitution, he may have some additional, very important documents on his side.

From Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

The NBA not only is relying on its constitution and by-laws to force Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling to sell the team, but also plans to rely on moral and ethical contracts with the league Sterling has signed over the years, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. …

Language in those contracts prevent Sterling from expressing views or taking actions counter that are detrimental to the league, the person said.

Depending just how strongly worded and specific those contracts are, they could have provided Silver with added security before he made his ruling, and they could also be huge assets for the league if indeed Sterling decides to fight.

In related news, the league’s Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in the process.

“The Advisory/Finance Committee met again today via conference call,” said Mike Bass, the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Communications, via official release. “The Committee reviewed the status of the search for a new CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, was updated on meetings held this week between NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and Clippers employees, and addressed the process and timing regarding the termination of Mr. Sterling’s ownership of the team.  The Committee will reconvene next week.”