As the NBA gears up for a June 3 hearing on whether to force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, the franchise owner is reportedly changing his legal strategy.
Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly Sterling, is set to negotiate a forced sale of the NBA team, according to ESPN, which cited unnamed sources. The NBA has yet to agree to the “arrangement,” the report said.
The league released a statement via spokesperson Mike Bass addressing the report. “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 statement read.
Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, when reached by phone by The Hollywood Reporter, referred to his statement given to TMZ on Friday and declined to comment further.
“Shelly Sterling’s preference has always been to find a way to resolve this dispute amicably with the NBA in a mutually satisfactory manner,” read O’Donnell’s statement to TMZ. An NBA league spokesperson hasn’t responded to a request for comment from THR.
On April 29, days after audio of Sterling’s racist remarks surfaced, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned the Clippers owner from attending league games for life and pledged to force a sale of the team.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that aired on May 12, Donald Sterling signaled that he wanted to convince the league that he could remain the owner of the team. (His remarks in that interview, particularly about NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, were further condemned by the league.)
“When you ask me what I have in terms of rights, I think of the league,” the owner said at the time. “The league would give you everything if you’re a good member. But if you’re not a good member I don’t think they want to give you anything. I got to maybe somehow make them believe I’m a good member who made a mistake.”