Sterling Contesting NBA’s Charges as Potential Clippers Sale Moves Forward

Jonathan Alcorn/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- The future of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers franchise took another strange turn Tuesday, with suspended owner Donald Sterling accusing the league of wrongly forcing him to get rid of the team even after he agreed to allow his wife, Shelly Sterling, to sell the Clippers on his behalf.

In his 32-page response to allegations filed by the NBA -- allegations that include racist comments he made about African-Americans that were recorded by an assistant -- Sterling says he will fight the charges, even as he claims bids for the Clippers have exceeded $2.5 billion. He and his wife bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12 million.

Among Sterling's complaints to the NBA is that selling the team will mean having to pay an enormous capital gains tax.  He also calls an upcoming vote on his ownership status a sham.

In other developments, Shelly Sterling is also asserting that if she’s selling controlling interest in the Clippers, she should be entitled to some stake in the team, arguing that she had nothing to do with her husband’s racist remarks.

It’s the NBA’s position that the family must give up its entire ownership of the Clippers. A hearing is scheduled for June 3 in which other team owners are to decide if the Sterlings must relinquish ownership of the Clippers. If the team hasn’t been sold by then, NBA commissioner Adam Silver would take over and sell it for a “reasonable and appropriate” price.

Meanwhile, TMZ reports that Shelly Sterling is accepting offers for the Clippers, with a group led by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer considered the frontrunner.

Other potential buyers include groups led by former NBA stars Grant Hill and Magic Johnson, as well as media mogul David Geffen and businessman Larry Ellison.

According to an attorney for Shelly Sterling, she “and the NBA are working cooperatively on the transaction.”


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