The Donald Sterling disaster may actually be coming to a close much sooner than anyone expected. TMZ reports that Sterling has given full control of the Los Angeles Clippers to his estranged wife, Shelly, so that she can negotiate the sale of the team with the NBA. ESPN Los Angeles's Ramona Shelburne and ABC News in Los Angeles also report that the Sterling has agreed to sign the team over to his wife, in order facilitate a voluntary sale.
According to ESPN's sources, Shelly Sterling has been in talks with the NBA for some time. If her camp successfully negotiates the sale, it would stop the legal battle the NBA is gearing up for, in its tracks. It is unclear how this will affect the upcoming owners vote to remove Sterling as owner of the team, if he agrees to sell willingly. A NBA hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 3.
The NBA has yet to accept the terms of this new arrangement between Shelly and Donald. She'll need to sell it all for them to consider.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 23, 2014
The NBA has not yet formally agreed to allow Shelly to sell the team in its entirety, and Sterling cannot unilaterally transfer control without their approval. But it seems in their best interest to go along with the plan (provided Shelly Sterling agrees to sell) which would remove the banned owner and appease players who may strike if ownership remains in the Sterling family name.
The Wire will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Update, 2:32 PM: The NBA has issued the following statement: “We continue to follow the process set forth in the NBA Constitution regarding termination of the current ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers and are proceeding toward a hearing on this matter on June 3.”