In another twist of the Clippers saga, which is seeming more and more like a reality TV drama, than an actual horrific event now might feature a season of divorce court. That is because according to Shelly Sterling the wife of Donald Sterling, the man caught on a tape recorded using racial slurs and comments and was banned from the NBA for life even though he owns the LA Clippers who have just been eliminated from playoff contention by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
When the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life, and publicly stated that he wants the team sold, even though he personally has no actual authority to sell the team the outcry started. How fast will it sell, and who will buy the team? But now a new wrench is being thrown into this plan.
Because both Donald Sterling and wife Shelly Sterling own the team, Shelly is arguing that she wants to and should be allowed to keep her 50% portion of the franchise, and will not be selling. The major problem that may result is this: if Shelly Sterling officially files for a divorce which she stated to Barbara Walters that she eventually will, and that she already signed the papers, just didn’t file them yet it could end up tying up the LA Clippers in a divorce settlement which can freeze any transaction for potentially years to come. So not so fast NBA. This move is considered by many to be the nuclear threat of the entire situation. One that can railroad any planned outcome and definitely has an effect on the potential suitors that want to buy the team.
Who wants to buy a 50% stake in a franchise that is frozen in a divorce settlement? So the ball is in Shelly Sterling’s court. She has the detonation codes to this whole scenario and all she has to do is walk into court and file the divorce papers. The sale of the team will then be frozen until a settlement is reached. But since she hasn’t actually filed the papers yet, there might be some hope of a quick resolution after all. Is it an empty threat to the NBA or a play to help her ownership stake? Either way, she just might be the one holding all the cards. The only potential saving grace is that “under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner’s interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well,” according to a statement from NBA spokesman Mike Bass. Let’s hope this rule applies in our court system as well.