NBA panel holds first meeting on bid to oust Clippers owner
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The NBA on Thursday launched its bid to oust Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers over racist comments as a committee of 10 fellow team owners or their proxies convened by telephone for a strategy session.
The conference call by members of the advisory finance committee of the National Basketball Association's Board of Governors came two days after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver declared Sterling banned for life from pro basketball.
Silver on Tuesday also fined Sterling $2.5 million, the league maximum, and called on the 29 other club owners who make up the governing board to exercise their authority to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
The unprecedented move would require a three-fourths majority vote under the league's constitution and bylaws. If approved, the board could then go further still and vote to seize ownership of the team for the NBA itself to sell, cutting Sterling out of the negotiations.
Silver and at least two of the owners, including the interim chairman of the board, Glen Taylor of the Minnesota Timberwolves, have expressed confidence they could muster the votes necessary to force a sale.
But some experts suggest that a number of Sterling's fellow owners might be hesitant to support action they felt could set a precedent that would weaken their own future property rights.
Sterling, who bought the Clippers in 1981 for $13 million when the team was based in San Diego, has not indicated whether he would relinquish ownership without putting up a fight.
Experts have estimated that the franchise, which moved to Los Angeles in 1984, could now be worth as much as $1 billion, posing an enormous potential capital gains tax liability on Sterling if he were to sell the team. Continued...