May 30, 2014

Sterling Fracas Continued

One thing that has played true to form in this saga is Donald Sterling's response. He is proceeding predictably—something one had to have known. Heck, I knew it. I even offered a conspiracy theory, which I am now beginning to believe myself.

Turns out that the forced sale fetched a record $2 billion franchise fee for, uh, a private tirade of racism that was recorded illegally. Sterling had already won. The Bucks, as a comparison, were recently sold for a bargain price of just over half a billion. So how exactly is this not rewarding Sterling?

Still, Sterling is not satisfied. So he has proceeded to file a billion dollar lawsuit against the NBA. He may not win, but the NBA will probably settle ("so we may put the past behind us and look forward");  they are yet to categorically state what offense Sterling committed and against whom, that'd command the gargantuan penalty. As a consequence, Sterling could gain his half from the forced sale of the team and an additional settlement for his trouble, netting well over a billion dollars for a franchise that was probably worth no more than $700 million.

Who says racism does not pay off?  


  1. Sterling agreed to the sale and is dropping the suit.

  2. ...and his attorney undid that.

    Sterling will do this till he gets his share of the $2 billion and then some of NBA's. This is what he does. The NBA will wait till this thing simmers down and announce a 'settlement' that will 'let everyone move on'

    Sometime after the finals.

  3. Except what appears to be in contention is whether or not he actually owns the team. The team is owned by a trust and there is some disagreement as to who the trustees are. Sterling's wife contends that is her, and is attempting to get the courts to recognize that.

  4. If he does not own the team, why is the NBA trying to force the trustees to sell? What 'crimes' have they committed? Again, this boils down to "what NBA rules were broken by whom?"

    Sterling will sell, he's assured of a gob of money already, he is simply haggling over the money he gets to keep additionally by making the NBA give up more of its share of the proceeds.

  5. Articles 13, 14, and 35A of the NBA Constitution are the framework for these actions:

    That's not to say it can't be challenged, but the challenge will have to be on technical interpretations of the Constitution and whether they apply in this case.

    And it's not as simple as you make it. There is currently a battle between him and his wife over who actually owns and is in control of the team. If a court deems that he is not the owner and his wife is, then I don't think he's assured anything.

  6. I don't think the forced sale is simple at all, which is why I said it was likely a mess in the first place, and it is why Sterling stands to gain immensely. He can drag it along for a lot longer than the NBA would want it to—his litigious background is well-known. As to article (35A) in question, it'd be a stretch to interpret a private (and illegal) recording made of a conversation with an assistant/mistress as "gives, makes, issues, authorizes or endorses any statement having, or designed to have, an effect prejudicial or detrimental to the best interests of basketball or of the Association or of a Member or its Team"

    The way this ends is by Sterling making a lot more money because the NBA wants this to go away.

    He is doing precisely nothing but making it uncomfortable by this lingering. The NBA always makes money when a franchise is sold. All that is being haggled over is how much of that share will Sterling get in addition to his share as an owner. Now that the finals are over, and the free agency hoopla about to start, look for this to be "resolved" within about five weeks. Terms undisclosed, of course.

  7. Also, if a court deems he is not the owner, then what does it mean for the NBA to be forcing a sale? Not to mention, that court case will drag on for a while before that decision is handed, challenged via appeals, etc.

    Kobe is on tape hurling gay slurs at an official during a game. He was slapped with $50K fine. Sterling? $2.5 million, lifetime ban, and forced sale of his team over illegally taped remarks made in private? Surely this can be challenged enough to be dragged out.

  8. As the LAT article concludes "Therein lies an opening for the NBA to negotiate an exit for Sterling--offer to cover at least some of the capital gains tax. But even then, the ball may be in Sterling's court. If he wants to make things tough for the NBA, his opportunities may just be starting."

    Yup, pretty much the way I see it. Who knows, Ballmer may get antsy and throw in a few more coins to make him go away.