Donald Sterling will surrender control of the Los Angeles Clippers to his estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, who plans to work with the NBA to negotiate a sale of the franchise, reports TMZ. The news, confirmed by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, could spell a relatively quick end to the situation if the league agrees to the plan.
Shelburne reports the one big hurdle is ensuring that the Sterling family sells its entire stake in the franchise:
The NBA has yet to accept the terms of this new arrangement between Shelly and Donald. She'll need to sell it all for them to consider.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) May 23, 2014
In fact, the NBA released a statement Friday suggesting nothing has changed with their plans:
"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," spokesman Mike Bass said.
With the league hoping to remove Sterling and his wife from ownership as quickly as possible, it's likely this kind of arrangement is preferred to legal action. The Clippers owner already hired a lawyer and informed the league he wouldn't pay the $2.5 million fine levied against him by commissioner Adam Silver, but ESPN's Bill Simmons says league officials have spent the past few days explaining to Sterling how much money he's likely to lose by refusing to sell -- it's possible, if not outright likely, that the financial implications play into this decision.
Sterling has owned the Clippers since purchasing the team in 1981 for $12.5 million. Simmons reports the sale could likely be completed for close to $2 billion.