NBA commissioner Adam Silver had to be hoping that he was in the clear. With the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers in the works, it appeared that his league had enough separation from the incident involving Donald Sterling so that the focus could at least momentarily shift to the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.
Then again, he had to know that Sterling was a risk to quickly change his mind and decide to spend the money and time to drag the process through court. That’s exactly what happened on Monday when Sterling reversed his approval of the sale of the team and announced his intentions to pursue the matter in court (even if it means he is essentially suing himself).
Sterling said that the next steps for the league are actually just to take a step back and let the situation play out. That makes sense given the nature of the suit. While Sterling is motivated by a perceived violation of his rights by the NBA, the actual conflict that has to be settled in court is between him and his wife Shelly because she agreed to indemnify the NBA while she negotiated a sale of the Clippers. That leaves the NBA, as Silver puts it, “on the sidelines.”
Other noteworthy items:
- In response to Sterling’s accusation that Silver violated his human rights and that he has done so multiple times while in leadership, the commissioner responded: “I have no idea what he’s talking about”
- Asked about the inflated price at which the Clippers were sold and what it means for TV rights, Silver sidestepped and pointed to the all-encompassing “market” as the guide for what will decide those deals
You can see video of Silver’s full interview with ESPN’s Sage Steele at halftime of game three below. He opens his comments by noting the fact that he wishes he could talk about the game instead.