UPDATE 10:08 p.m.: That was fast.
ESPN reports: “The California appellate court late Friday denied a request from deposed Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to block the sale of the team.”
9:14 p.m.: When we last checked in on the court case between Donald Sterling and his wife Shelly involving the sale of the Clippers, it was ruled that Shelly was victorious, which meant that the sale of the team to Steve Ballmer could go through as planned.
Anytime you’re dealing with Sterling and the court system, however, it’s rarely that simple.
Sterling doesn’t take his legal defeats lightly, and given his knowledge of the system and the virtually unlimited funds he has to continue to work it, it isn’t a surprise that he continued to pursue his options to try to change what at this point is an inevitable conclusion.
Sterling’s lawyers said in their request for a writ of mandate that if the sale goes through, “Donald will have lost a unique and irretrievable asset: a ‘trophy asset’ coveted by high net worth individuals around the world — one of thirty NBA franchises in the country, and one that under Donald’s thirty-year ownership has recently become one of the most successful.”
In a statement responding to the filing, Ballmer’s attorney Adam Streisand said: “We won this trial because Donald Sterling is on an egotistical crusade to destroy the Clippers if he can’t keep the team, and he can’t. We will win the appeal for the very same reason.”
The main complaint of the appellants is the judge’s decision to allow the sale to go forward with no time for an appeal. He used a section of law that bars a stay of his decision.
Given that provision, it was unclear if the appeal would have any effect. The sale could conceivably go forward while the appeal makes its way through the courts.
The reality of the situation is that the sale is going to happen. In the unlikely event that this appeal process ends up being successful, the league will simply meet and terminate Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers by majority ownership vote, which was the plan all along before Shelly was able to negotiate this particular sale that her husband is now fighting.
Sterling has the funds to continue to exhaust every available remedy he has under the law, but it’s appearing more and more like all of that is simply a waste of everyone’s time. One way or another, it’s almost certain that the team will be officially transferred out of his control before next season begins.