TIME NBA

NBA Pressing On in Sterling Case Despite Reports He’s Selling Team Through Wife

Donald Shelly Sterling
Los Angles Clippers' owners Donald Sterling and wife Shelly sit court side during the Western Conference game 2 between Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies at the Staples Center on April 22, 2013 in Los Angeles. Armando Arorizo—Zuma Press

The NBA's actions against Sterling will continue despite reports that the disgraced owner of the Los Angeles Clippers has agreed to allow his wife to negotiate the sale of the team

The National Basketball Association intends to continue its legal action against Donald Sterling, the league announced in a statement Friday, despite reports the L.A. Clippers owner has agreed to let his wife negotiate the sale of the team.

“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,” the NBA said in a statement.

The Associated Press, ESPN and other media outlets reported Friday that, according to anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Sterling has opted to allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate the sale of the L.A. Clippers. It’s not clear, however, if such a move would be allowed by the NBA — USA Today reports Shelly Sterling will agree to the deal only if she is granted a minority interest in the team, and any deal must be approved by the league.

A spokesperson for the Clippers declined to comment on the news. TIME reached out to an NBA spokesperson for more information but the league did not immediately respond.

The NBA is moving to remove Sterling from ownership of the Clippers; a related hearing has been set for early June. If the Sterlings and the NBA can come to a quick deal, however, it would save the league time and energy, removing the necessity for a complicated and potentially drawn-out voting process.

Sterling was banned from the NBA i by league commissioner Adam Silver in April following an outcry over racist comments Sterling made in a phone conversation which were later published publicly.

Sterling stands to make an enormous profit if and when he sells the Clippers. ESPN’s Bill Simmons estimates that the team would fetch at least $1.5 billion, while Sterling reportedly bought the team for $12.7 million in 1981.

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