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Donald Sterling Loses Bid to Block Sale of Clippers

Published by EOTM News Editor on July 28th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

NBA report courtesy of

LOS ANGELES — A judge issued a sweeping victory Monday for Rochelle Sterling, ruling that she had the authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to the businessman Steve Ballmer, who has agreed to pay a record $2 billion for the franchise.

Donald Sterling -- Credit: USA Today

In the most significant parts of his ruling, Judge Michael Levanas of California Superior Court said that Rochelle Sterling had properly followed the directions of the family trust in removing Donald Sterling, her estranged husband, as co-trustee and that the sale of the team could be completed without waiting for what would be a lengthy appeal.

RELATED:Donald Sterling’s case is about more than bigotry: Letter

Rochelle Sterling, who attended court most days during a trial that stretched over three weeks and was called “a pig” by her husband after she had left the witness stand, wept as she left the courtroom after Levanas’s oral ruling, which will not become official until he files it in writing. Rochelle Sterling’s team of lawyers and advisers embraced as they stood to leave the courtroom. Donald Sterling was not in court Monday.

“This is a new day in Los Angeles and a new day for the Los Angeles Clippers,” Pierce O’Donnell, her lead lawyer, said. “And we want to go forward understanding that it was one woman who stood up against her husband, who had the courage to go to court and prevailed. So for the cynics out there, sometimes it works out O.K. This is a Hollywood ending.”

Nevertheless, her lawyers conceded that this was not necessarily the end, given that Donald Sterling, who purchased the franchise in 1981, has two other lawsuits pending. Donald Sterling, 80, was barred for life from the NBA and fined after an audio recording was released in April in which he made racist comments.

“We expect that we’re going to continue to get grenades from all directions,” said Adam Streisand, a lawyer representing Ballmer. “But I’ve been confident from the beginning about how this is going to work out, and I’m still confident.”

Donald Sterling’s hopes of halting the Clippers’ sale rely on two legal maneuvers: filing a writ within the next two weeks that would seek to overturn Levanas’s decision to allow the sale to be completed while the case is being appealed; and a federal challenge filed last week by Donald Sterling asserting that Rochelle Sterling no longer has the authority to complete the sale because Donald Sterling became the sole shareholder after their trust was revoked June 9.

“Well it goes without saying that we’re deeply disappointed with this result and also deeply disappointed at the quality of the analysis that the judge engaged in,” said Maxwell M. Blecher, one of Donald Sterling’s lawyers who has represented him for many years.

Blecher criticized Levanas’s ruling, saying the judge erred on several accounts, which would be the basis for an appeal. Meanwhile, Rochelle Sterling said that she hoped that her husband would drop his other legal challenges, and that she expected him to be happy with the decision.

“I’m sure he’ll be happy,” she said as she spoke briefly to reporters.

Rochelle Sterling said that she would attend Clippers games and hoped that her husband would join her one day in her courtside seats, saying she expected his lifetime ban to be lifted. The case had been stressful, she said.

“All I want to do now is get some sleep,” she said. “I haven’t slept for weeks.”

If the sale goes forward, it may be approved by N.B.A. owners as quickly as Sept. 15.

“We are pleased that the court has affirmed Shelly Sterling’s right to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer,” the league said in a statement. “We look forward to the transaction closing as soon as possible.”

Earlier in the trial, Donald Sterling, with his characteristic bombast, testified that he would be a headache for the N.B.A. no matter how the case turned out.

“Make no mistake today, I will never, ever, ever sell this team,” Sterling said then. “And until I die, I will be suing the N.B.A. to make them pay for the terrible violations of antitrust that they have imposed on my family.”

The trial was narrow in scope, focusing on three issues: whether Rochelle Sterling had followed the directions of the trust in removing her husband as co-trustee; whether the probate court had jurisdiction over the matter; and if Rochelle Sterling won, whether the sale could proceed even if the decision was appealed.

Levanas was emphatic in his support of Rochelle Sterling on all counts. He ruled that the doctors who had examined Donald Sterling and ruled him mentally incapacitated had acted appropriately, and he shot down Donald Sterling’s contention that he was duped by a plan his wife and O’Donnell hatched to wrest control of the team from him.

If there was any contention over how Donald Sterling’s provocative and antagonistic testimony had played out — Levanas at times had seemed humored by it — the judge answered with a stinging critique: that Rochelle Sterling’s testimony was “far and away more credible. Donald was often evasive and inconsistent with previous sworn testimony.”

Levanas was no kinder to some of Donald Sterling’s witnesses. Dean Bonham, a sports marketing consultant, testified that the Clippers could command more than $2 billion, but his credentials were questioned under cross-examination. “The court gives it no weight,” Levanas said.

The N.B.A. moved to strip ownership of the team from Sterling in April after TMZ published a recording of a phone conversation in which Sterling made racist remarks. Although Sterling has a history of discrimination — he settled a suit with the United States Justice Department for housing discriminating — the recording roiled the league, and several teams — including the Clippers — considered boycotting playoff games.

Donald Sterling agreed to let his wife sell the team, but then reneged when he found out that his $2.5 million fine and lifetime ban that had been handed down by Commissioner Adam Silver would not be rescinded. That led Rochelle Sterling to remove her husband as co-trustee.

“His reaction was very calm,” said Bobby Samini, a lawyer for Donald Sterling, who relayed Monday’s verdict to him. “He didn’t see this as final battleground. This is one stage of a long war. This is one battle. We had hoped for a different result, but this is not the end.”

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Lamar Odom Dropped From the New York Knicks

Published by EOTM News Editor on July 14th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

Poor guy.

Lamar Odom has been dropped by the New York Knicks, which probably isn’t a surprise to anyone.

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Knicks president Phil Jackson said in a statement, “We found it necessary to free up the roster spot. Lamar was unable to uphold the standards to return as an NBA player.”

Odom, 34, became a member of the team on its last day of the 2013-2014 basketball season. Odom didn’t suit up for the team’s final game of the season, but the Knicks reportedly had bigger plans to work with him during the offseason in hopes of utilizing him next season, ESPN reported.

RELATED: Sources: New York Knicks eye Lamar Odom

The NBA star has played with the L.A. Clippers, Miami, L.A. Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. He has a career average of 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 33.4 minutes in 961 games over the span of 14 seasons.He is currently estranged from his reality TV wife, Khloé Kardashian.

LeBron James set Return to Cleveland Cavaliers

By Cain Cawthon

Follow this author:@eotmsportsnews on Twitter

LeBron James is returning to … Cleveland

In a dramatic move early Friday NBA champ LeBron James announced he would be returning home…to Cleveland, later posting the image below to his instagram account.

LeBron James returning to Cleveland -- Photo credit: Instagram

Four years after he bolted from Cleveland to Miami in pursuit of the N.B.A. championships that had eluded him, LeBron James is returning home.

At age 29 and with two N.B.A. titles now in his possession, James decided Friday to rejoin the Cavaliers, for whom he played in the first seven seasons of his storied professional career. Vilified in Cleveland when he decided to leave for the Heat, James is likely to find that all is forgiven, and more, as he embarks on an effort to bring a championship to a city that has not celebrated one in any major sport in 50 years.

Shop for 2013 Miami Heat Champs gear at Fanatics!James, who grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio, and is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of his generation, made the announcement through Sports Illustrated’s website, saying: “My relationship with northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

In the fairly elaborate statement, which he prepared with the sportswriter Lee Jenkins, James went on to add: “I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010.”

RELATED:Miami Heat’s meeting with LeBron James over, no decision yet

In his four-year absence, the Cavaliers were one of the league’s worst franchises, compiling a 97-215 record without making a single playoff appearance. But by choosing to return, James positioned the team to become a championship contender in the years ahead. Cleveland features a young, talented core that includes Kyrie Irving, a 22-year-old point guard who recently signed a long-term extension with the team, and Andrew Wiggins, a forward who was the top overall pick in last month’s draft.

It is also possible that the Cavaliers will now move aggressively to bolster the roster with veteran players, perhaps even a star from another team, in an effort to fast track the team’s chances to compete for a title. In his statement, James referred to his new teammates, saying, “I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters, and I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.”

James, however, did not cite Wiggins in the statement, perhaps a clue that the Cavaliers would be willing to trade him this summer for an established player.

James’s departure from Cleveland in 2010 left deep psychic wounds on the city, and they were apparent almost immediately. On the night of his televised decision, fans burned replicas of his jersey and tossed memorabilia in Dumpsters. Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner, posted a vitriolic letter to the city on the team’s website in which he referred to James as “our former hero” and described his move to Miami as a “cowardly betrayal.” Gilbert also pledged that the Cavaliers would win a championship before James ever did.

Gilbert, of course, was incorrect. But the letter, which gained additional notoriety for being written in Comic Sans, remained online until early this week, when it was removed. That action left many to wonder whether James was, in fact, returning, and there were other clues: photographs of James posing with friends from Akron on his Instagram account; a convoy of moving vans parked outside his home in Miami (although James always ships his cars to Ohio for the summer); and perhaps most important, his silence about his intentions.

At the start of free agency, the Heat were widely considered to be the favorites to retain his services. James has a great deal of respect for Pat Riley, the team’s president, and the Heat had appeared in the N.B.A. finals in each of James’s four seasons in Miami.

It was the appeal of playing with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, two perennial All-Stars, that had lured James to Miami in the first place, and it was a successful partnership — by most measures, if not necessarily their own. When they joined up in 2010, each player agreed to take less money so their superstar collective — the so-called Big 3 — would fit under the league-imposed salary cap. James predicted the number of titles they would win together: “Not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven …”

In hindsight, he should have stopped at two, which was no small feat. The Heat won consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013 as James collected his third and fourth Most Valuable Player awards. He emerged as the league’s most unstoppable force, possessing an almost superhuman blend of speed, strength, skill and savvy.

He was nearly as dominant last season, averaging 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting a career-best 56.7 percent from the field. The Heat posted a 54-28 record, which earned them the top seeded berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Miami advanced to the finals to play the San Antonio Spurs, and it was only then that serious problems surfaced. Wade, 32, slowed by leg injuries in recent seasons, labored to run up and down the court. The Spurs exposed the Heat’s lack of depth. James averaged 28.2 points while shooting 57.1 percent over the course of the best-of-seven series, but it was not enough as San Antonio swatted Miami aside in five games.

In the wake of that sobering experience, James told the Heat that he was opting out of his contract so he could explore free agency. It did not necessarily mean that he was leaving — he could always sign a new contract with the Heat — but it seemed apparent that he wanted to see what sort of personnel moves Riley was capable of making to reshape the roster while working with the leagues salary cap restraints.

The rest of the league was left to wait and watch, as several teams drafted plans to clear the necessary financial space so they could potentially sign James and accommodate the starting salary of $20.6 million that he was sure to command. He delegated his agent, Rich Paul, to meet with officials from the Cavaliers, the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets, the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers. The franchises lined up, all of them eager for a crack at courting James.

If the process itself felt familiar to 2010, with James entertaining offers from a smorgasbord of suitors, the conclusion felt very different this time around.

When he decamped for Miami four years ago, James made the announcement in a televised special on ESPN — an awkward bit of programming that struck many viewers as self-serving. Indeed, in his statement Friday, James seemed to be referring to that moment when he stated, “If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently.”

This week, he did opt for a more subtle approach.

In the statement, James said that “Miami, for me, has almost been like college for other kids,” and added: “These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man.”

The decision seems likely to leave the Heat bereft of much talent. Riley had worked to shed salaries so he could woo other free agents to join James, Wade and Bosh in Miami, and so far had recruited two players — Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Bosh, meanwhile, has a lucrative contract offer from the Rockets, who are much better positioned to vie for titles than the Heat as constructed without James. If Bosh now follows James out the door, Riley will be almost starting from scratch.

None of this, of course, is of any concern to Cleveland, which lost James four years ago. On Friday, the city was very glad to win him back.

“I looked at other teams,” James said in his statement, “but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

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Miami Heat’s meeting with LeBron James over, no decision yet

Published by EOTM News Editor on July 10th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

By Cain Cawthon

It seems NBA superstar LeBron James is weighing his options and having a bit of fun keeping the media and fans, nervous wrecks. The ‘meeting’ with the Miami Heat in Las Vegas today ended, with more uncertainty. According to a USA Today source King James has most certainly not made up his mind about whether he will re-sign with the Heat or head elsewhere.

(Photo: Steve Mitchell, USA TODAY Sports)

James will now speak with his family according to Yahoo Sports’, Marc Spears. So the waiting continues. For teams, which have limited money to spread around and would prefer that James choose them. For many of James’s fellow free agents, who cannot reach deals until the biggest domino falls. For members of the news media, who are not an especially patient lot. And for fans, who scoured social media for the most microscopic of clues.

Earlier today he made an appearance at his annual basketball camp for elite high school players — he even shot a few hoops  before departing for his meeting with Riley. None of the participants made public comments afterward, letting the suspense build for a while longer.

RELATED:LeBron James still has ability to keep Big 3 in Miami – NBA on EOTM Sports

While all this was playing out, the Cleveland Cavaliers were making moves in hopes of persuading James to return. They were able to shed about $10 million in player payroll by engineering a three-team trade that involved the Nets and the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers gave up a lot of assets for nothing but salary-cap space, enough to produce a contract that would pay James about $20.7 million next season — the most he can earn under league rules. It was one of the few deals that could get done, if only because it peripherally involved James.

It was a huge gamble by Cleveland and one that came at a cost. The Cavaliers agreed to send Sergey Karasev, a promising forward, to the Nets, and to give a future first-round pick to the Celtics. But that was the price of business with the league’s top player on the open market. The notion that James might not return to Cleveland? It was not something that fans wanted to consider.

“There’s no way he’s going to rip our hearts out twice like this,” said Jason Herron, a season-ticket holder and the general manager of an Akron-area car dealership.

Herron, 40, recalled how James left the Cavaliers four years ago, with a televised special that reduced Cleveland to abject despair. Herron played a part by using a James jersey to start a bonfire outside a Cleveland bar. The footage spread quickly online, a symbol of the city’s fraught relationship with professional sports — and its instant animosity toward James.
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Things change, of course. Herron said he spent Sunday on his computer monitoring the flight path of a plane belonging to the Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

“It was 85 degrees, the sun only comes out five times a year in Cleveland, and I’m inside watching Gilbert’s plane go to Miami,” he said. “It would be total redemption if LeBron came back.”

And total disappointment if he does not. By merely taking his time with his decision, and by having his agent, Rich Paul, meet with the Cavaliers last week, James had done enough to inspire hope for his return. Not that it was his fault, or that he deserved blame. James does not owe anyone anything at this stage of his career, not when he has so much to offer.

It was also worth noting that there were no guarantees in any of this for Riley, a man whose championship credentials are nearly unrivaled. Phil Jackson, the one person who might have something to say about that, was in his own bit of a holding pattern Wednesday as he awaited word from Carmelo Anthony about whether he would re-sign with the Knicks.

Here were two instances in which the players held all the power, a product of free agency and all the agita it can produce.

POLL: Should King James Stay Home? Let us know in the comments below

The trickle-down effect was enormous. Consider Chris Bosh, who was believed to be weighing a lucrative contract offer from the Houston Rockets but was waiting to see what James would do. Consider, for that matter, the Rockets, who were most likely drafting several backup plans in case James opted to return to Miami and brought Bosh back with him.

James’s decision was even affecting the Memphis Grizzlies, who had offered Mike Miller a new contract. But Miller appeared to be waiting on James. By the end of the day, the LeBron flowchart looked like a maze.

The situation would probably have been a lot different had the Heat beaten the San Antonio Spurs in the finals. To state the obvious, it would have been much more difficult for James to explore leaving Miami after winning three straight championships. But the Spurs exposed the Heat’s flaws, and James was left to consider his options.

Amid all the uncertainty, the Spurs put themselves back in the conversation Wednesday — if only for a moment. The team released a 28-word statement announcing that Coach Gregg Popovich had agreed to a multiyear contract extension.

Some things never change.

USA Sports & New York Times contributed to this report.

Marfan syndrome diagnosis ends Isaiah Austin’s pre-draft process

Published by EOTM News Editor on June 23rd, 2014 - in Cain Cawthon on Sports, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

By Cain Cawthon

Follow us:@eotmonline on Twitter |EOTM.Media on Facebook

Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, ending his predraft process and the potential for an NBA career, Baylor announced the devastating news on Sunday.

Here is what was reported via our affiliate

Isaiah Austin (AP Photo)

“This is devastating news, but Isaiah has the best support system anyone could ask for, and he knows that all of Baylor Nation is behind him,”Baylor coach Scott Drew said. “His health is the most important thing, and while it’s extremely sad that he won’t be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that he’ll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program.”

Marfan syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that results in a connective tissue problems throughout the body. The Baylor website lists an enlarged aorta as one result of Marfan syndrome, a problem that can be life-threatening.

Austin, who suffered a detached retina that left him partially blind, has played with a prosthetic right eye during the course of his basketball career. He revealed this fact during his sophomore season. Even through that adversity, Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 73 games over two years.

Austin made the decision to forgo the remainder of his college career in April, five days before the early-entry deadline. Austin considered the jump to the NBA as a freshman, but was not capable of going through the predraft process because of a torn labrum.

The news of this final career-ending health issue comes with fewer than five days to spare before the 2014 NBA Draft, no doubt a day Austin had looked forward to as a top high school prospect and stand out college player.

San Antonio Spurs Annihilate Miami Heat in 2014 NBA Finals — Game 5

Game 5 of 2014 NBA Finals - Photo credit: Pool/EOTM Medua

Spurs forward Tim Duncan celebrates making a basket during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.(Photo: Bob Donnan, USA TODAY Sports)

Spurs beat Heat to win fifth NBA title (via AFP)

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday to capture their fifth NBA championship and spoil the Heat’s chances of winning a third straight title. The top seed Spurs throttled the two-time defending champs in the final three games…



LeBron James With a Simple Message: ‘Why Not Us?’

Published by EOTM News Editor on June 14th, 2014 - in EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

(Photo: Robert Mayer, USA TODAY Sports)

LeBron With a Simple Message: ‘Why Not Us?’ (via

Early Sunday evening, LeBron James will gather his Miami Heat teammates around him and offer a few final words of wisdom before they try to extend their reign as NBA champions. James never rehearses the speech, but already knows what the gist will be…



Donald Sterling’s case is about more than bigotry: Letter

Published by EOTM News Editor on June 8th, 2014 - in Cain Cawthon on Sports, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

Donald Sterling case is about more than racism: Letter (via

FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2010, file photo, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, right, and V. Stiviano, left, watch the Clippers play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA preseason basketball game in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File…



Donald Sterling vows fight

Published by EOTM News Editor on May 28th, 2014 - in Breaking News, EOTM Sports News, NBA, Sports News

(USA TODAY) Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling says the NBA is unfairly singling him out and slamming him with “draconian” punishment, all prompted by the leak of a private conversation he claims was illegally recorded.

Sterling’s attorney, Max Blecher, told USA TODAY Sports late Tuesday that Sterling is not interested in selling the Clippers, contrary to a statement made Tuesday by his wife’s attorney. Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnell, said Donald Sterling authorized Shelly Sterling in writing to sell the team, including his 50-percent stake.

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In a scathing 32-page response sent to the league Tuesday and obtained by USA TODAY Sports, Donald Sterling instead says he will fight the league’s move to force him to sell his team, and he noted he has received offers of more than $2.5 billion for the franchise. Sterling also says the league’s proposed punishment would cause his family to take an “egregious” tax hit on the sale of the club.

Regardless of his comments in the recording, Sterling says, nothing he said violated his contractual agreements with the league.

“A jealous rant to a lover never intended to be published cannot offend the NBA rules,” said the document, signed by Sterling.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is trying to force a sale of the Clippers after Sterling was heard in an audio recording making racist remarks about African-Americans in a private conversation last September with his companion, V. Stiviano. The recording was leaked months later to the gossip site TMZ, prompting Silver on April 29 to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million. The NBA has set a hearing for June 3, with approval by three-quarters of the league’s owners required to strip him of ownership.

“This evening, the NBA received responses from Donald and Shelly Sterling to the charge to terminate the current ownership interests in the Los Angeles Clippers,” NBA vice president Mike Bass said in a news release Tuesday night. “The NBA Board of Governors will meet on June 3 at 1 p.m. in New York City to hear and vote upon this matter. Should the Board vote to sustain the charge, the Sterlings’ interests in the Clippers will be terminated and the team will be sold.”

SEE ALSO: Source: Donald Sterling Surrendering Clippers Control


Sterling says he did not consent to being recorded by Stiviano, making the recording illegal in California. He also says he helped the league achieve its diversity goals, and that the penalties for his offensive speech are far beyond what any other player, coach or owner has suffered. He cited several examples, including NBA star Kobe Bryant being fined “only a modest $100,000″ in 2011 after using a gay slur against a referee.

The league says Sterling ran afoul of a morals clause in Article II of its joint venture agreement with him. But Sterling stays the provision “is not meant to oversee morals and ethics in the home; it is meant to govern morals and ethics in conducting the sport of professional basketball.”

Sterling alleges he was baited by Stiviano into making his remarks while he was in a distressed and vulnerable state. While he has acknowledged the remarks were “uneducated” and “hurtful,” his response asserts they could not draw a fine of $2.5 million under NBA rules.

“Judging in terms of the punishment already imposed, and the Commissioner’s current request, Mr. Sterling’s offense is far and away the worst offense that any player, coach or owner has ever committed in the history of the NBA,” his attorneys wrote. “In the past, the NBA has either punished offensive speech with a modest fine or ignored it.”

Sterling argues that the league could fine him no more than $1 million.

“We do not believe a court in the United States of America will enforce the draconian penalties imposed on Mr. Sterling in these circumstances, and indeed, we believe that preservation of Mr. Sterling’s constitutional rights requires that these sham proceedings be terminated in Mr. Sterling’s favor,” the response says.

His wife, Shelly Sterling, planned to file a separate response to the NBA by midnight Tuesday to assert her position that she is an innocent bystander in the league’s efforts to strip her family’s ownership of the Clippers, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Shelly Sterling’s attorney, Pierce O’Donnnell, said Donald Sterling made a written agreement with her to sell the team.

“Donald Sterling has authorized Shelly Sterling in writing to negotiate the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers, including his 50 percent ownership of the team. Shelly is managing the sale of the Clippers,” O’Donnell stated. “While no formal offers have yet been received, Shelly and the NBA are working cooperatively on the transaction.”

That differs from what Donald Sterling’s attorney said late Tuesday after filing his response to the NBA.

“Present position is no sale,” Blecher said.

By reasserting her position as the innocent 50% owner, Shelly Sterling is building on her case that she should be able to retain a minority ownership stake in the team. Meanwhile, she has been talking to potential buyers. On Sunday, she visited with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at her residence in Malibu and received a strong offer for the team and a commitment to keep the team in Los Angeles, said the person, who is familiar with the negotiations.

Several other potential buyers have expressed serious interest, the person said, with Bank of America working to help Shelly Sterling sell the team on her own terms and not through a forced sale by the NBA.

But the NBA isn’t likely to agree to her terms. The league said last week it will proceed as planned to terminate the family’s ownership. However, the person said the NBA is aware of Shelly Sterling’s efforts to sell the team on her own and might be open to the team being sold without a forced termination. Depending on the negotiations, the June 3 deadline could be extended.

A sticking point could be Shelly Sterling’s effort to remain a part-owner — a prospect the NBA opposes.

“As the Commissioner said last week, it would be a preferred outcome if the Sterlings were to voluntarily transfer 100% of the ownership in the team to new owners, rather than to have their ownership in the team terminated,” Bass told USA TODAY Sports via e-mail.

The Sterlings bought the team in 1981 for around $12 million.

If the NBA votes to terminate the Sterlings’ ownership, Silver would take over the team and the team could be sold “at such prices and on such terms as the Commissioner shall deem reasonable and appropriate,” according to the NBA Constitution.

Read more via USA Today.