How the NBA can force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers


(Richard Drew/AP)

Finding out about how the NBA Board of Governors operates could be the plot of a Dan Brown novel. The organization is so secretive that it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. What, is it all “Eyes Wide Shut” in there?

Probably not. Instead it seems that little is known about the Board’s inner workings because so many of the matters they deal with are tedious, such as rule changes.

But not anymore. Suddenly information about this mysterious board is in demand, as it’s been charged with forcing the sale of the Clippers after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Donald Sterling for life. So what’s up? How will the board force Sterling out? They’ll navigate the maze that is the NBA Constitution and By-Laws.

First, Silver will convene a meeting — either in person or virtual — with the Board of Governors, which is made of all the NBA owners. (Sterling, obviously, will not be involved.) This will most likely happen within 10 days, according to Article 14(b) of the NBA Constitution and By-Laws.

At that point, Sterling would have five days to address the Board. If he doesn’t, his absence “shall be deemed an admission … of the total validity of the charges as presented,” as stated in Article 14(c).

It would be very surprising if Sterling didn’t show, however, meaning Sterling and the Board will likely go back and forth for an indeterminate amount of time until a decision to force Sterling to sell is made.

Ultimately,  to make that decision, three-fourths of the governor board, or about 22 governors, will have to vote in favor of it, according to Article 14(g). These votes will never be released to the public.

At that point, Sterling would have to sell. Well, unless Article 15 is invoked, which has to do with alternatives to termination and that is overwhelmingly unlikely to happen in this case since Sterling has been banned for life from having anything to do with the NBA.

Instead, the Board will then turn to Article14A, which outlines the consequences of forcing an owner out. One option is to force Sterling to sell, which brings us to Article 5, and most likely, Article 5(g). This allows Commissioner Silver to appoint a committee to transfer the ownership of the Clippers wholly without Sterling’s involvement. Although Sterling will still get the proceeds, which will be A LOT.

And that, friends, is how the new Clippers will be born.

More on Donald Sterling and the Clippers:

Clippers owner Donald Sterling is banned for life from NBA

Will Sterling go quietly? History says no

NBA players, reporters and officials react to Sterling’s punishment

NBA’s Donald Sterling banned for life, joining the list of punished pro sports owners

What would the Los Angeles Clippers be worth if Donald Sterling sold the team?

Late-night shows roast Sterling to varied success

Mark Jackson: Fans should protest Game 5

Donald Trump says Sterling’s girlfriend set him up

Sterling costs Clippers a bevy of sponsors

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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