Donald Sterling punishment confusion reportedly holding up Clippers sale

Stephen Dunn

The Donald Sterling saga might not be over yet, as confusion has led the Clippers' owner to reportedly reconsider his stance.

Donald Sterling has not signed off on a deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, reportedly backing down from the claim that he resolved his disputes with the NBA. Sterling misinterpreted a draft of a statement from the league, leading him to believe the NBA would dismiss his lifetime ban, as well as the $2.5 million fine he received, reports James Rainey and Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times.

An anonymous source confirmed that the NBA has no intention of absolving either punishment, according to the report:

"In terms of saying something in a draft press release that indicated they would be dismissing the lifetime ban and the fine, that is not true at all," said the person, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. "That doesn't mean that [Sterling] wouldn't have read something like that into it.

"But if they interpreted it that way that is wrong and there is no thought of lifting the lifetime ban or the fine being rescinded."

This is yet another twist in a situation that continues to be a serious issue for the NBA. Sterling's statement that he would drop his $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA while also agreeing to sell the Clippers franchise appeared to be a clean break for both sides, but the resolution seems uncertain again.

The NBA's Board of Governors scheduled a meeting to vote on Sterling's future in the NBA but cancelled the gathering once he appeared to agree to the sale. The NBA has not released a statement in response to the latest development.

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