NBA Commissioner Adam Silver can’t predict with certainty whether the court system will confirm his position that that NBA can strip Donald Sterling of ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
But Silver sounded awfully confident when asked that question Tuesday following the NBA’s summer Board of Governors meeting.
“We’re doing everything in our power to move Donald out as an owner in the NBA,” Silver said at a news conference.
But is that within the league’s power?
“It’s highly, highly unlikely” courts would rule against the league if it comes to that, Silver replied. “We’re absolutely acting within our rights.”
The league was prepared to hold hearings intending to strip Sterling of the team. Then Sterling’s wife, Shelly, interceded, negotiating a deal to sell to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.
After that Donald Sterling sued, asserting his wife doesn’t have final say in the matter.
Silver said Tuesday if the trial involving the Sterlings holds up the sale to Ballmer, he’d “reopen proceedings to terminate the franchise.”
On other topics, Silver commented:
Asked specifically about players matching contract expirations to the anticipated rise in the salary cap, Silver said there’s some logic to that strategy but also some jeopardy.
“There’s also a risk in shorter contracts,” Silver said, noting that most players’ deals are fully guaranteed.
“I was moved by his statements” about returning to Northeast Ohio, Silver said. “It says a lot about who he is and who he’s become. … That this was about something larger than about basketball and the NBA.”